On Remote Working

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

While I have mostly worked with digital native organisations, it is interesting, looking back, that remote working was not really a big thing in most of these organisations. Sure, you could work remotely if required, but very few people actually took it up, preferring to work from the office most of the time.

My first real exposure to formal remote working policies was, interestingly enough, when I started working for a very ‘traditional’ business. They had quite progressive rules for employees who, for whatever reason, had to work from home.

I have been ‘remotely working’, in a fashion, over the the past 18 months or so since I decided to embark on my independent gig. I have learnt a few things along the way:

I find it very challenging to work from home full time. I am just not able to shake off the fact that I am actually sitting at home, and hence get easily and regularly distracted. Not to mention that, in India, there’s a steady stream of people ringing your doorbell through the day, which can be a nuisance when you are in the midst of some work that requires concentration.

I like the discipline of having a routine of ‘going to work’. Related to the previous point, I realise that I prefer to have some sort of demarcation between ‘work space’ and ‘relaxation space’. Which is why I decided to invest in a desk at a co-working space.

I like to be surrounded by other ‘workers’. It gives me the sense of belonging to a community, After all, we are social animals.

The reason for this post is a State of Remote Work 2020 report that I came across recently. It contains some interesting insights into remote work. I personally found it surprising that only 7% of the remote workers surveyed (3,500) are working out of a co-working space. It was also disappointing to read that 80% of the organisations that the respondents work for don’t pay for monthly expenses associated with remote work.

As the ‘gig economy‘ continues to grow, organisations will have to increasingly design frameworks that balance the desire for some employees to work remotely with other considerations that might necessitate employees to work out of common offices. Clearly, the technologies of today are much better at enabling connectivity between employees who are spatially distributed. But I also believe that there are issues with team and culture building, informal networks, etc that still need to be debated and resolved.

What are your views on remote working? Please let me know by commenting on this article.


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