The Misunderstood Couch Potato: Disadvantages of Being a Virtual Worker

By Brooke Neuman June 11, 2012

It’s Monday morning, while everyone is gripping their steering wheel in unavoidable traffic, imagine yourself waking up without the piercing sound of an alarm, strolling around aimlessly in your bunny slippers and setting up your workspace in the comfort of your living room – sounds like heaven right?

We all know that isn’t what working remotely from home is really like. But with advancements in today’s technology, it is increasingly easy to become a virtual worker. Although there are several advantages to working remotely from home, there is one BIG disadvantage: lack of face to face communication and social interaction.

For those who have worked in an office, large or small, know that co-workers often bounce ideas off each other or spark conversation in passing through hallways or breaks in the lobby. Because remote workers work outside the office, they don’t get to participate in daily in-person conversations. Are you really going to ask your elderly next door neighbor or two year old daughter for tips on your PowerPoint presentation? When surrounded by peers and co-workers, a feeling of comradery and motivation are sensed. It’s hard to maintain the feeling of being a part of a team when you aren’t physically present.

Sure, e-mail allows instant communication between co-workers, but often the inability to see facial expressions and recognize vocal cues lead to misunderstandings and tension. For example, a remote worker may interpret criticism or a simple helpful suggestion the wrong way over e-mail. How many times have you re-written an e-mail because you thought you sounded rude, or added 10 exclamation points and smiley faces to make sure your request doesn’t sound like a demand? We are all guilty, I know I am!  =)

Co-workers and upper management, especially, often take the easy way out and confront an employee about a problem through e-mail. Personal discussions are the foundation of communication, and a sense of strong communication leads to success within any business. Confronting an employee or co-worker face to face speeds up decision making and makes both parties feel satisfied.

A lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of motivation. It’s like this: If a plate of cookies is sitting on the kitchen counter, you’re going to eat them. If your couch is five feet away, you’re going to take a nap. Personal relationships outside the workplace build rapport and can help advance your career. Remote workers are often left out of social gatherings and miss important opportunities to learn more about their co-workers.

Social interaction and face-to-face communication within an office setting is not only important to an employees’ career, but to their personal happiness and well-being as well. Although it would be nice to work remotely from home and the advantages are quite clear, think twice about the potential harmful effects it may have on you and your future.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Copy Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Cell Phones May Get More Interesting, Maybe

By: Doug Mohney    3/5/2015

Buried among the onslaught of news from Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 are hints that handsets may get more interesting over the next year-maybe. Ky…

Read More

ADTRAN Faces Trifecta for U.S. Growth

By: Doug Mohney    3/4/2015

Over the past month, two major events are likely to turn into solid sales numbers for ADTRAN over the next couple of years, while a third will continu…

Read More

MWC: Samsung S6 Kicks iPhone's Butt on Paper

By: Rob Enderle    3/4/2015

The phones also have a fast capture camera which should get you shots that other's miss (just tap on the camera button twice and the camera is ready t…

Read More

A Candid Talk with Ford: Connected Cars and the Future

By: Rich Tehrani    3/4/2015

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015, I spoke with James Buczowski, a Henry Ford Technical Fellow, about the company's connected ecosystem experiments …

Read More

The Road of Municipal Broadband Leads to FCC Broadband Title II

By: Doug Mohney    3/2/2015

Almost lost in the Federal Communication Commission's announcement that it plans to put tighter, Title II utility-style regulation onto broadband carr…

Read More