The Cons of Telecommuting

Over the past decade, more and more companies have tried out telecommuting strategies in different capacities with varying degrees of success. A new report finds that telecommuting may be on the decline in the 2010's.

CNN Money is reporting that "it's true that telework reduces pollution, improves productivity, and cuts real estate costs for employers while increasing retention and employee loyalty. But no matter how advanced the technology, something is lost when face-to-face contact disappears. Indeed, a new report found that the number of teleworkers declined in 2010 for the first time since data collection began nearly a decade ago. While there's no denying that telecommuting can provide tremendous benefits, organizations are finding that virtual collaboration has its limits."
 
It is possible for telecommuters to feel disconnected from coworkers, especially if they work quite a distance away from one another. Why? Because they likely have never met their team members face to face; email and webcam introductions work for some but they are not a substitute for a real introduction and handshake. For this reason, it may take longer to build a working relationship and rapport with coworkers via Skype and email. 
 
Additionally, part of the working relationship is built around non-working activities: coffee, lunch or after work drinks with coworkers. Socializing with coworkers creates friendships out of work mates, which can reinforce a positive working relationship.
 
Experts say that it is possible to counteract this isolation by showing your face around the office from time to time, especially when a new employee joins the team. That way you can have a face to face meeting and reconnect with old coworkers. The frequency and feasibility of "popping by the office" is obviously dependent on what the distance is and your company's travel policies.
 
Whether you are working from home or in an office setting, you need to practice good health and work safety to avoid work injuries. For office workers, repetitive motion trauma like carpal tunnel is a risk that may be overlooked when working from home. Why? Because employers are likely to do ergonomic assessments and post health and safety standards to avoid employee work injury. Not so at home. 
 
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