Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

The Changing Nature of Jobs

The Federal Government, under Barack Obama’s auspice, is pushing for an increase in teleworking. Teleworking has many benefits (and some downside as well). Let’s count the reasons why teleworking is being actively promoted:

1) The Federal Government is largely located in the DC/MD/VA triangle. The DC Beltway has the second worse traffic in the country (after LA). Having civil and military personnel working from home one or two days a week may increase traffic by 25% during rush hours;
2) Less cars on the road, less pollution in the air;
3) Less office space required in the government (people can even share offices in different days);
4) Less personal expenses when you work from home;
5) Better quality of life.

With 99% of work done in computers nowadays, it makes sense that if you have a work laptop at home you can do basically the same you do in the office. With video-conferencing capabilities having improved greatly in the last 5 years, you can also attend “meetings” while seeing presentations. When it comes to the downside of working from home we can cite:

1) Lack of productivity. Counter argument: supervisors now look more for results than micromanaging what every employee is doing every minute of his day. If there work is done well and on time, the fact the person is working from home will not make a difference.
2) Lack of social interaction. That can be resolved by making teleworking not daily, and by promoting events and meetings where people can interact.
3) Privacy at home: people with small children or pets have to find a space at home where they can work undisturbed.
4) 24/7 work. Some people feel that if they have work blackberries or smart phones they will be forever accountable and plugged in. What is needed is self control that you will not check work messages or respond to them in your off hours.

Besides telework, and maybe because of the mobility it offers, the future may hold a different work life for most of us. I think people will not have only one job, one occupation, where they will dedicate 100% of their day. People will be more inclined to work in temporary or seasonal assignments, mix activism and special interests with paid work, still be productive while “on vacation”, and have different professions at the same time. One can work as an accountant, write a book, do volunteer work and dedicate oneself to a special hobby-all because their time will not be imprisoned in an office or cubicle all day long.

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May 18, 2011 - Posted by | Workplace

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