Telecommuters Causing Mistrust In The Workplace?

from the all-depends-on-how-you-go-about-it dept

A new study suggests that with the rise in telecommuters, many employees have never even met some of their closest colleagues. Because of that, many workers feel that they don’t have as close a relationship to those colleagues as they should, and may not trust them as much as those they work with in person. In other words, there are other unintended consequences of telecommuting. Again, this seems to be the sort of thing that’s highly dependent on how the telecommuting is done. For a team that works in a dispersed manner, it’s still helpful for them to get together on a regular basis. “Invisible” workers who are going to be working closely with each other should be brought together occasionally. It may not completely solve the mistrust issue, but it’s better than having them be completely faceless.

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Comments on “Telecommuters Causing Mistrust In The Workplace?”

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Director Mitch (user link) says:

Face Time Important

I agree that face time is important, so even though I “remote office”, I go to HQ 2-3 times a month. Usually I have meetings, but I make a point of “doing lunch” with various people, hanging out in people’s offices chatting, etc. Email and phone can get a lot done, but I think to really bond with a team you need to spend time together. It’s just human nature.

thecaptain says:

Re: No Subject Given

I agree. I think it also depends on the nature of the work.

I’m in a situation where for me, things can vary…one month I’ll be working on a very team oriented project, another month I’ll be getting a complicated one-man project up and running.

When I have to work with my team, it pays to be in the office..we talk, we bounce ideas back and forth and even when coding we’re all together..things go smoothly.

When I’m the only one on a particular project, I work a LOT faster alone at home. I found I can get a full day’s work done in a couple of hours usually…because at work, I have a LOT of co-workers with NO analytical skills who insist on using me as their second-brain rather than thinking things through. When being interrupted every 5 mins, I simply cannot get a good groove going that allows me to focus on the task at hand (and I can’t just close my office door since I don’t have one)

Sheridan Tatsuno (user link) says:

Value of face time

“Face time” is invaluable, even for home office workers, since it is the ultimate broadband channel that enables one to see, interact and respond instantly to many people in a 360-degree environment simultaneously. Try doing that even with high-res videoconferencing; you’ll miss the subtle nuances and people outside the screen.
Email is useful for communicating and expressing ideas, but I noticed even back in 1982 that it led to misunderstandings since the other person’s context cannot be seen or felt.
Here’s my take on digital technologies:
Email/IM/blogs — “narrowband” even if you use DSL
Phones — a little better “narrowband”
Videoconferencing — low-end “broadband”
Virtual reality — medium “broadband”
Face time — ultrawide, real-time immersion broadband (when measured in absolute pixels or bytes per second)
My conclusion is that face time is essential for deeper understanding of another person’s context, developing trust, and interacting spontaneously and appropriately (especially the latter). It’s easy to flame people over the net, but difficult to do so face-to-face since there’s a powerful social agreement implicit in meeting in person.

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