I’m adjusting to this change in my work schedule. My coworkers have been great, picking up the slack on the projects I’m working on despite how full their own plates are. I’m also doing some work at home, which, because of today’s communication and computer technologies, is an increasingly practical option.
Telecommuting, remote working—whatever you call it—makes a great deal of sense. I don’t have to be in the same building (or country for that matter) as my colleagues in order for us to work together. Experts say about 20 percent of workers around the world work remotely, with almost 3 in 10 dividing their working week between home and the office. The ability to work from home has especially proven to be a boon for parents of young children.
Most people understand both the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely from the office:
The advantages include:
- Reduced cost
- Work at your own pace
- Fewer sick days
- Proximity to home and family
- Reduced stress
- Increased productivity
- Better work/life balance
- Lack of routine
- No workplace social life
- The challenge of the work/life balance
- Difficulty separating home from work
- Need for high self-discipline
- Complete dependence upon technology
I do not foresee working remotely becoming a regular part of my routine. I know myself too well: the disadvantages listed above would eventually outweigh the benefits. Additionally, the way my coworkers and I practice architecture is very much reliant upon face-to-face interaction on a daily basis. By its nature, architecture is a collaborative pursuit, demanding efficient teamwork. Despite rapid improvements in the technology, teleconferencing by Skype, GoTo Meeting, WebEx, or other platforms cannot yet fully replace the freewheeling, spontaneous dynamic typical of architectural offices. Real-time, online collaboration and sharing of documents in the “cloud” are certainly a reality today, but virtual interactions are still hindered by the limitations of the technology. In too many instances there remains no substitute for literally being able to sit side-by-side with a close collaborator, pencils in hands, scribbling on the same drawing.
Thankfully, my wife is doing well and improving daily. I hope to quickly return to a full-time schedule, maybe as soon as a week or two from now. I also hope to resume a more regular pace of blog posts; my blogging has definitely taken a back seat to my concerns about my wife’s health. I’ve needed some time away from both work and my various extracurricular interests (which include blogging but also my taiko drumming) for both her sake and my own.
The ability to effectively work from my home is definitely a benefit today’s technology affords many of us. I appreciate being able to work remotely when I need to, especially when my life’s circumstances compel me to do so.