Working Virtual

43% of U.S. employees work remotely all or part of the time according to a new Gallup Poll.

IBM pioneered telecommuting but now has had a change of heart citing new research.

So IBM is calling their workforce back to the office to collaborate face to face on problem solving.  40% of IBM’s workforce was working remotely in 2009.  Whether reverting back is a more productive solution, time will tell.

But for employees who resist (including me as I work 80% remotely), there are hidden benefits.

Telecommuting often runs into personal hours and has been accepted routinely as part of the territory.  But in France there are laws that forbid employers from requiring their employees to answer work emails after hours.

Personal and work get mixed together.  Just check Instagram for any person you know who is working remotely and don’t be surprised to find that they have commented or posted content (same with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks).  You can see their “likes” even if they don’t publicly post.

Family and inter-personal time gets compromised.  How many dinners or night time hours are interrupted by someone on your team working virtually?

The answer may not be in banning virtual work platforms although the research clearly favors the results when people work together face to face.

More importantly, be cognizant of how working remotely leaves your life more remote from the people you care about.

Then fix it.

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