IT/Web: July 2020 Archives

Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn't So Great After All, Wall Street Journal

"Four months ago, employees at many U.S. companies went home and did something incredible: They got their work done, seemingly without missing a beat. Executives were amazed at how well their workers performed remotely, even while juggling child care and the distractions of home. Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc., among others, quickly said they would embrace remote work long term. Some companies even vowed to give up their physical office spaces entirely. Now, as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren't developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs."

Keith's note: I have teleworked from home for more than 24 years. I have teleworked for a month at a time from Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet and Devon Island 800 miles from the north pole. If I have comms and my fingers are not frozen, then I can work. Astronauts telework from the ISS. Its not impossible - but management and personnel have to adjust - and workflow needs to be capable of being performed remotely.

The one positive thing I expect (hope) to see NASA embrace as it endures and then emerges from this pandemic is the ability to conduct meaningful work regardless of one's physical location. Not everything is amenable to teleworking - but a lot of it is - much more than previously anticipated. Part of making teleworking happen is to redouble one's focus on collaboration. But there is an equal need to function independently and self-motivate. Some people will adapt and thrive. Others will not. Either way, we'll never become a spacefaring species if we can't expand our collective workspace beyond our cubicles.



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