One Of The Disadvantages Of Telecommuting

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I happen to be very lucky because I have a job where I telecommute almost full time.  I am not complaining about this fact at all as I enjoy it and the ability to work from home and be around my 2 year old son and see him on lunch breaks and when I get a drink or snack is priceless.  I do however want to warn people about some of the things that can happen when you telecommute too much and too long.  These are problems that I continue to attempt to keep at bay and find a way to work around.

  • Problem #1 – Office Socializing

You lose the ability to socialize and get face time with your peers when you permanently telecommute.  Even though I am on conference calls all day long with the people I work with.   The face time I get once a month or so is very important.  Even break room gossiping and idle chit chat is important for building work relationships, people need to see your mannerisms, get your opinions and see your presence once in a while.  Fortunately being in IT I don’t work directly in person with customers, so I don’t have to worry about that aspect but it is nice to be able to talk to coworkers in person every so often.  I mean I haven’t been in in so long when I do go in people are startled at how different I look each time I go in.

  • Problem #2 – Young Children Don’t Understand

My two year old doesn’t understand daddy has to go upstairs and close the door to his office and work now.  He just thinks Daddy won’t play with me and is ignoring me.  He will sit outside my door and pound on it while I am on conference calls sometimes.  My oldest was the same way when he was his age, but now that he is 5 years old knows that Daddy works in his home office during the weekdays.  The problem is my littlest will calm down after 5 or 10 minutes, then 2 hours later when I have to run downstairs to get a drink he is so excited to see me, if I play with him, he just cries when I leave to go back upstairs.  If I ignore him, he cries that I ignored him.  It is a gift and a curse having your little ones so close to you when you work, in the end though they appreciate that you are there more.  It is just hard on them when they are little and getting used to it.

  • Problem #3 – Partner See’s Too Much Of You

If you have a significant other then pay close attention to this one, especially if your partner doesn’t work or works different hours than you so is home at the same time you are home working.  Your partner and you become so dependent and used to “seeing” each other all day long on breaks, or they can just stroll into your office to see you, bring you a drink, chit chat about anything.  You get over used to seeing each other and you lose that “I haven’t seen you all day” excitement that people get when coming home after working all day away from each other.  I have seen this cause difficulties in my home life over the past 3 years since I have been telecommuting full time.  To help keep this at bay try keeping a closed door policy and minimize the times you leave your office to go down and chit chat with your partner.  Though don’t be rude, mean or distant on purpose.  I still am trying to figure out ways to minimize this one more, but the benefits of having the time around the children and saving the gas costs from driving are extremely beneficial.

  • In Summary

If you have a job where you telecommute a lot or you are thinking of getting a job where you will spend a majority of your time telecommuting, make sure you read the above issues that can happen.  There are more but these were the big three for me.

-Justin Germino

Updated: November 2, 2008 — 8:46 pm