Remote Work: Better or Worse for a COBOL Programmer

There are a lot of quotes from famous and powerful people about the impact on mandatory work-from-home over the last 2 plus years. I’ve been reflecting on my own experience as someone in the trenches, working from home, and this article describes some ways that it improved life for me and some ways that it made it worse. This is no reflection on my employer and is strictly my own opinion, from the perspective of a COBOL Programmer.

10 Ways Things Are Better Working from Home:

  1.   There is no commute. Previously, there was a commute to get into the physical office. In the new work world, it’s just a matter of going to your computer and logging on.
  2.   Less distractions. There are less interruptions during the workday. Most of the time there are no people working around you to potentially have loud conversations
  3.   More flexibility of time. There is the option of working irregular hours, around your own schedule, contributing to a better work personal balance.
  4.   Less long meetings and time to get to them. There used to be travel time involved in getting to meetings, even if it was in the same building. With virtual meetings, that time wasted isn’t a factor anymore.
  5.   More time with family. With no commute time, it’s possible to spend more quality time with your family.
  6.   More comfortable work environment. Your workspace is in the comfort of your own home, where you can even regulate the temperature.
  7.   Easier access to other workers on chat. You don’t have to spend time tracking down coworkers. They will either be available on chat or not available. There’s no need to go to their desk to look for them.
  8.   Easier to have a pet. You don’t have to worry about leaving your pet alone at home all day. There are no costly pet daycare fees..
  9.   Easier to look after children. Instead of your children fitting into your work schedule, your work schedule can now fit into your children’s schedule.
  10.   Can work from another city. There are more options for remote work when you work from the virtual office. Depending on the job, you can live in one city and work in another easily.

10 Ways Things Are not Better Working from Home:

  1.   Less in person time for meetings. Meetings are more impersonal, with virtual meetings replacing boardroom meetings. There are often hundreds of people in one online meeting.
  2.   Less chance to socialize. No opportunity for hallway, bathroom, or water cooler impromptu mingling. Often short training sessions or work meetings could previously be accomplished easily that way, face to face.
  3.   Less chance to be visible. You can go off the radar when working from home. Your work may not be as recognized if you aren’t among others in the office.
  4.   More distractions. There could be more distractions at home. For example, children and pets may need your attention during the workday.
  5.   Less structured time. With the computer so close, you can log on any time, so you may end up working at odd hours or more hours because of the convenience.
  6.   Downtime from connection issues. There is more disruption of work due to technical issues with your work link. The Internet disconnects or your work connection may be lost at various times during the day.
  7.   Have to be constantly available for chat and calls. You are almost expected to be consistently available for unexpected meetings and work calls. There is an expectation to let the team know when you are leaving your desk.
  8.   Blurring of work and family time. Since it is more convenient to work at home. Work hours might extend into family time, confusing the line between work and family.
  9.   Harder to develop work relationships. It’s much harder to develop a work connection with people on your team, especially new people who you haven’t met before. Unless you’re constantly on video calls with them, the body language factor is eliminated when talking through emails.
  10.   Harder to learn from others. Training sessions used to occur in a classroom setting. Now, virtual instruction may have hundreds of people attending and interactive turned off. This makes asking questions more difficult, since the questions come up in chat only for the instructor. Impromptu training also has to be online.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to remote work. Some of the pros may also be cons, depending on the situation of the worker. No scenario will be perfect in all cases. There will still be some bad and some good about working remotely, just as there was with working in the office.

 

If you’re currently working from home, what are some of the things you struggle with, and/or are thankful for, about your new arrangement?

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