Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Why Do Computer Workers Insist on Working from Home?

 


Dear Monica: I want to hire a computer professional to work at my office but most insist that they can do better work from their own home offices.  What am I doing wrong, how can I entice reliable and qualified computer workers to want to work at my awesome office during normal 9 to 5 week days without breaking my bank?

Dear Awesome Office:  I am often asked this question by office workers that are not competing on the Internet, so they do not have a need to be knowledgeable about the opportunities that are only available online.  I suggest you look for an older age demographic for your computer workers because they are more accustomed to a traditional 9 to 5 office work environment than today’s younger generation.  The younger generation is growing up totally comfortable with virtual Internet environments and Internet Socializing, so it will be very difficult - perhaps impossible, to convince them that the expenses and investment of their time and resources will be worth it when they compare it to the competitive nature of today’s professional work environments that are benefiting from today’s Internet technologies and Virtual Office Environments.

According to Scott Edinger of the Harvard Business Review, traditional 9 to 5 workers often do not receive effective communication with their leaders.  Three key reasons were provided in Scott’s article, which can be found online at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/are_you_taking_your_people_for.html. 

Videoconferencing, instant messaging, email, voicemail, and phone skills are stronger with leaders that manage virtual teams, because the remote team leader must make the best use of the tools on a daily basis.  A traditional office leader often needs to develop those skills and learn how to use today’s communication tools effectively and actually does not use the tools during their typical office responsibilities.

Successful remote team leaders must maximize the time their teams spend together.  Remote teams take extra precautions to filter out distractions so everyone can focus on what they are working on together at a specific time.  If the remote team does make time to meet at a physical location, the workday is not a typical traditional office day because the level of focused attention is something that cannot be replicated every day in a traditional office environment.  When a remote worker visits a traditional office for a meeting, the employees often note that is the day when they all spend the most effective time with their boss.

Absence also causes teams to put more effort into staying connected.  Successful teams and team leaders will deliberately make a point to reach out to each other for a conversation each week.  Remote software programmers often make a point to create a daily video screencast to show the rest of the team where they are at with the project.  When team leaders make an extra effort to make contact they are typically more focused on each person they contact and more aware of how they express their authority, creating a strong line of communication for the whole team.

Remote offices and workers are not always better than going to work in a traditional 9 to 5 office.  Both require very effective communication to be successful.  Edinger and many others have noticed that ironically, traditional office environments are the least likely to practice effective communication and benefit as much as remote office environments.

 

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