#WFH: The Benefits Outweigh the Challenges!
MEET Neal (cont.2)
The real issue is trust. Management does not trust people to work remotely. In a face-to-face environment, I can walk into your office and say, “I need this done” and you can say “That isn’t part of my job description.” Then I’ll say “Yeah, but I know you can do it.” In a remote environment management tends to keep workers in a box because it takes more effort to reach beyond that, which is the opposite of the idea that workers want to learn and grow, and that the organization should support them in that endeavor.
Security can work both ways. There is no question it is needed but sometimes VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) lock out ridiculous things and firewalls keep people from being able to do their jobs. Very few companies have trained workers on the requirements and legal aspects of the remote workplace. If IT has been trained, that is probably the only group that has been trained, and in most cases they have not been trained either.
Neal explained that his family life has been impacted by his working remotely, but he says their interactions are better. They respect each other’s boundaries and keep business separate from their private lives. They key is respecting each other’s privacy and scheduling and doing things together, like getting out for a walk in the afternoon. The dynamics are different when you work for someone else. You must determine what is OK and what is not OK. It’s not a work-life balance, it’s a work-life blend. The dynamics of work-life balance is in a different dimension when you work remotely. Business is changing and will continue to change to survive. We will have a new workforce and a new workforce standard. We are not going backward. Neal believes we are on the cusp of tremendous change in the business world.
Bottom line, on a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being I do not want to do this anymore and 4. I love it, Neal indicated he would be a 4. The benefits outweigh the challenges. The freedom, flexibility and independence offered are part of who he is, and he loves working from home #WFH! WOOT!
When I asked Neal six months later, in September 2020, what had changed, here is what he said: Initially my clients struggled to organize, attend and perform while sheltered in place but now they are finally moving forward, getting used to the technologies and beginning to get things done. On a personal basis, we are closer and talk more socially, not just about business. I miss going to the movies with my wife and getting out of the house. I miss going anywhere, just getting out and spending a day catching up with clients. We communicate differently. We don’t save it up until we see each other, we share more instantly. Watching TV is far from comparable to sitting in a theater and having popcorn and not being interrupted by texts, phones and pings. This experience has broadened my exposure to new technologies and made me work harder to keep up with them. I don’t like that decisions are being made more slowly and budgetary considerations are blocking progress, but I can see a shift in awareness. People are now beginning to see that working from home is possible, [and are] opening up to new possibilities, and technology in general.
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