Telecommuting not so great for those left in office

Kristina Cooke over at Reuters has an article about how those that telecommute have less stress and a higher morale compared to those that are left to come into an office everyday. She mentions that “their co-workers tend to find the workplace less enjoyable, have fewer emotional ties to co-workers and generally feel less obligated to the organization”

I have to agree and disagree with a few things in this article. I for one have been telecommuting for 6 years with my current organization. While I do tend to have less stress and enjoy a very good work/life balance, I sometimes do miss having face time with other people in the office. Sometimes I look forward to traveling to other offices merely for the social interaction, but also enjoy the solace and comfort of my home office. There are days where I am grateful to have my situation and others where I wish I could balance going in more with home office time.

However, I do feel that one challenge in particular hurts us as telecommuters. Since I don’t have that regular face time with executives or upper management, I often find having to either reinvent myself or do something over and above for people to get to know me as a manager and as a person. When you are in an office and can have that interaction with others, people notice and sometimes I believe can lead to accelerated promotions. Since telecommuting often portrays you as that “online guy that works from home” often your true talents and personality does not come through to those that need to see it most. You are not looked at as that “strategic person” or “go to person” sometimes, because you are not given that chance to be strategic. In addition, you don’t become a “top of mind” person because you are not around.

I love telecommuting but I can can say with almost certainty that it has hurt my career in terms of advancement within my organization. I see others around me being elevated into positions not only because they have talent, but that they are in that office and interact with people that can elevate them. So one needs to ask themselves if the work/life, less stress and balance thing is more important or is the need for new challenges and opportunity for advancement more important.

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