Year One

Remotely Working

With all the impressive technology we have today, one thing I’m surprised is still as ancient as it is is strict requirements on committing to an office every day to do work. There are a lot of jobs that don’t really require you to be in an expensive building. Off the top of my head, I can think of several jobs that would thrive remotely: software development, sales, support, devops, operations, accounting, and anything else where the majority of work is done on a computer. One can’t reasonably expect manufacturing to be done from home, but isn’t it all the same when you write code on your computer at work versus on your computer at home?

According to one guy, it’s not. In fact, he’s quite adamant that working remotely is detrimental to a company’s success. Someone should show him how well Automattic and Buffer are doing.

And my COO felt performance was slipping. Revenues were dipping by about $100,000 per month. While some people on our team do a great job no matter what, he felt others would benefit from closer supervision. At home, it’s easy to get distracted by tasks like feeding the dog or surfing the Web. Some team members’ performance evaluations were declining. Their follow-up on projects was sometimes slower than we wanted.

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Is that even a thing? Hiring quality people should include screening for poor work-from-home performance. The cool thing about working from home is that you can break up tasks throughout the the day and be able to do stuff like feeding the dog, something that takes a whole three minutes. Also… employees surf the web at work. People don’t need to wait until the get home to do that. Sorry, bud.

It’s hard to believe that someone could be so closed-minded in 2015. Actually, it’s not. Looking into the author, and reading some of the comments about him tells us he’s not even close to a good source of information on the subject. After I read the article, I pondered it for a bit. It felt so incredibly out of place. It was almost like something synthetic that was created for a specific purpose, and that purpose wasn’t to share genuine ideas. The article felt like it was written to prove a point to someone that the author’s idea was legitimate because without it, they would look like a fool.

Turning to the comments revealed all. I’ll let you read them for yourself if you’re interested.

Back to the original topic, though. If a company can figure out how to distribute itself in some capacity, cost savings could be had. The amount of necessary office space would shrink, salaries can flex based on the area the remote worker lives in (The media home price in San Francisco is almost five times that of Atlanta, for example).

All the while, without having to fork over extra money, the savings can be put to better use like higher quality medical benefits, more paid time off, and company outings or retreats. As much as I’d like to go into the numbers, I frankly don’t have the time or resources to do so. Fortunately for me, the Harvard Business Review did the work, already.

The next time you’re job searching, think about working remotely. You might be surprised at what you could find. To get started here’s a great site of remote jobs.

Discussion

2 responses to ‘Remotely Working

  1. “Some team members’ performance evaluations were declining. Their follow-up on projects was sometimes slower than we wanted.”

    That isn’t a technology problem. That’s a management problem. Fire the low performers and hire high performers. Over supervising the low-perfomers means that management isn’t being productive and is wasting time baby sitting people. It also annoys the heck out of the high-performers who will eventually leave. That leaves the company with a sinking ship.

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