Why I can’t get on board with remote working

If you’ve walked into your local coffee shop between the hours of 9 and 5, you’ve probably noticed scattered groups of individuals donning headphones and staring into a laptop screen. Churning out social media photos or spread sheets, they’ve swapped out their cubicles and Keurigs for lattes and bar stools.

With more employees demanding remote working, companies are adapting. But just like with any new trend, no one knows exactly how effective it can be.

Employees claim to be happier and more productive when working off-site. In one study, 91 percent of employees say they get more work done out of the office. But, this is a self-evaluation and there are many dangers that come with that.

If they really are being more productive, why are companies bringing people back to the office?

IBM, one of the first major companies that offered remote working starting in the 1980s, brought all of its employees back into the office earlier this year. Reddit implemented a no work from home policy back in 2014, and so did Best Buy in 2013.

Reddit’s then CEO, Yishan Wong, stated that separation kept them “from effectively being able to coordinate as well as we needed to on a full-company level” when announcing all remote employees needed to relocate to San Francisco or find another job.

For me, I prefer a more traditional office environment. Working with other people proves to be more efficient when you can communicate face-to-face instead of through a Slack convo. (No offense to Slack; it’s amazing when the time is right.)

It’s like making plans in a group text: Everyone gets frustrated and nothing gets resolved.

There’s also that real issue of taking the responsibility for the internet, or lack thereof. Your boss isn’t going to forgive you if Starbuck’s connection suddenly goes down or Comcast decides to not work, again. If you’re in the office, everyone is dealing with the same issue.

And if you’re like me and reside in an entry-level position, how can you expect to grow in the company without getting to know your colleagues? I’ve learned that you gain trust through coffee breaks and happy hours.

Steve Jobs always talked about having a “water cooler moment”: How are you supposed to come up with that water cooler idea, if you don’t talk around the water cooler?

Now, I do think having the option to work off-site is a great thing for some people, and companies should offer days similar to sick and emergency days that let you work from home. But, I can see how it can cut productivity.

Brainstorming, learning and camaraderie all come from physically being around your workmates. If you don’t like to be around them, maybe find a different job, not demand to be able to work from your neighborhood coffee shop.

Featured image by Alexis Paige