Why I Enjoy Working Remotely
The technology, tips and tricks Rob McNelly has gained under his sleeve while working remotely all these years.
By Rob McNelly07/21/2020
For me, working at home was an easy choice. I love being able to get going first thing in the morning while I'm fresh and alert. On weekdays at least, I'll typically awaken thinking of work anyway. So rather than sitting through a commute, worrying about losing time, I can get right to it. I suppose being an introvert plays a part as well. Being around others all day can draining; I use my alone time to recharge.
For others who may have never previously worked remotely—particularly extroverts who are energized by daily interactions—I can see where this experience would be a struggle. Of course some people simply weren't set up to work from home. Until a few months ago lots of folks never had the need for a laptop, or for superior cell phone connections and network connectivity, outside of the office.
In my case I further benefit from the fact that my children are grown and my dedicated office workspace has long been in place. I have fast internet, a full-size multi-montior setup and my cherished old school tools: an actual landline and a vintage Model M keyboard.
Of course, 2020 has still been an adjustment for me. In a typical year, I'll travel to work at client sites as required. If the budget allows it, I'll also attend a couple of conferences.
From these experiences I do understand the unique value of face to face interactions in business settings. Developing relationships online is certainly doable. I have numerous friends that I only know in the virtual world. However, something can be lost when interactions take place exclusively via email, phone, IM, Webex, or what have you. Taking time for meals, chit chat in the halls, and less formal interactions are often the glue that holds relationships together with those you only see infrequently. For this reason, I've always tried to meet with remote team members. I believe that being able to put faces with names and get to know one another better is well worth the effort and expense.
And as we've seen, there's still essential work that can only be done onsite. Data centers still need hands on attention, new hardware still needs to be installed in racks, cables must be pulled, parts must be replaced, etc.
So at this point, I am ready to go back on the road. But I'll always appreciate being able to work remotely.
Rob McNelly is a senior AIX solutions architect doing pre-sales and post-sales support for IBM Premier Business Partner Meridian IT Inc.