Office Politics 101: Working from home

There are great benefits, but you need to stay focused.

Q: My supervisor has recommended I start working at home, initially part-time. I like the idea as an unhappy commuter, but a colleague warns this may be a sign I will be laid off. What do you think?

A: Telecommuting is growing in importance, especially in North America, although only a small fraction of those office workers who could work from home are actually permitted to do so.

There are a number of significant benefits to telecommuting, which no doubt makes it desirable for you. The elimination or reduction of long-haul commuting, of course, is probably the most attractive feature.

Fuel and maintenance costs would be reduced significantly and your car, with less mileage, will last much longer.

The flexibility and convenience is especially positive. Plus, from an altruistic perspective, the environment receives a breath of fresh air with one less internal combustion engine on the highway.

There are some downsides that need to be acknowledged. If you’re easily distracted and have difficulty getting motivated, working from home can be problematic.

Social contact is severely limited although with Skype, teleconferencing and corporate Facebook accounts, you’d still be able to communicate regularly with your supervisor and colleagues.

The sense of community — which is often under-rated as a benefit of a welcoming workplace — is also compromised with virtually no opportunity to relate to others more closely and even make friends.

As for your colleague’s concern that this initiative may be a precursor to being laid off, I would not be at all worried.  This would seem to be speculation on his part and not based on fact.

In reality, a recommendation to telecommute is much more of an indication of his confidence in your capacity to work independently: it is compliment to you.

Ultimately, you will need to contemplate this decision on two levels: first, you should consider whether it will be a good career move.  And, second, you’ll want to examine your character and work style to determine if you are suited for telecommuting.

If there are co-workers who have also been asked to consider this option, approach them and seek their advice.  Their suggestions could help you make an intelligent choice.

Working from home isn’t for everyone; but, if after careful reflection, you’ve decided to accept this opportunity, make it for a trial period – of  say six months – to determine whether it is appropriate for the long-term.

Simon Gibson is a university professor, marketing executive, corporate writer and civic leader. He is a graduate of four public universities, including Simon Fraser University, where he earned his doctorate in education. He also also holds a degree in journalism (honours) from Carleton University. His email address can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Claims already being staked after GeoScience BC report released

In the first 15 days following the report, a total of 34 new claims were staked.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Waulkwass River

A kingfisher and some trumpeter swans came by close enough to get a few shots.

Port Hardy RCMP investigating drug offences

Both vehicle occupants may face future charges related to the suspected drugs and cash.

Port McNeill’s Barb Drennan named forest technologist of the year

“Her work with the Heiltsuk First Nation is a model for other forest professionals”

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Sports Talk with Tyson: Winning isn’t everything

“regardless of the outcome, I gave everything I had and I left it all on the mats.”

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Most Read