24 Jan

“Why telecommuting can be dangerous for your company culture,” said no minority woman ever.

Facts

I just finished reading the Fast Company article titled: Why telecommuting can be dangerous for your company culture, and I’m dumbfounded. The article starts by sharing research that supports telecommuting:

One Stanford study shows that telecommuting increases work productivity by 13%. It cuts down on the emotional costs of commuting and arguably increases workplace satisfaction. Most companies offer some form of telecommuting, contributing to its 80% growth since 2005.

Opinions

It goes downhill from there when the author begins sharing his opinions (not substantiated by research) about the dangers of telecommuting  (e.g., missed opportunities and missed human experiences). What?! Dude, if you’re doing the best job you can and your efforts aren’t getting you noticed (whether you’re working remotely or not), you might want to expand your horizons.  And if you need more together time with other human beings, and you currently seek that closeness from people who are paid to interact with you, then you might consider making more friends,  being more active in your professional organization,  joining a church group, getting a membership at a health club, or hanging out in the produce section of a grocery store.

Perspectives

Let me share with you what I don’t miss as a minority woman who now works remotely.

  • I don’t miss spending 15-20 hours of my week commuting. I now spend that time with my family or volunteering in my community.
  • I don’t miss the expectation that I should be wearing uncomfortable shoes and fashionable clothing in order to perform my job. I now spend almost nothing on dry cleaning, and my feet don’t ache in the evening. In addition, what I wear, how nicely my clothing fits, and how high the heel is on my shoe has no influence on how my performance is judged.
  • I don’t miss inappropriate looks or comments related to my sex or ethnicity. I’ve never had to endure an uncomfortable situation or listen to an off-colored joke from my home office. In my remote-work environment, all my communications are professional and related to work tasks and situations.

Hopes

Working remotely in my opinion is the great equalizer. I am judged on what I produce and how well I communicate. How I look, how dark my skins is, if I speak with an accent, if I use a wheelchair, how much I weigh, how old I am, or whether I have another human growing in my belly has no relevance in the remote-work environment.

Resources: 

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