Home work a lonely job

Remote workers more disengaged and likely to quit

Don Ames
November 19, 2018 - 7:22 am

More and more Americans are experiencing the freedom and flexibility of working from home.

It may sound good on paper -- there's no traffic, no office politics, and you can work in your fuzzy slippers. But, there are drawbacks for both employers and employees.

A recent study by Virgin Pulse found that remote employees, those who work from home rather than going into the office, often feel detached, disengaged and lonely.

"So, that's where you get some employees that feel like "Well, I'm kind of out here alone and I don't get the feedback that I normally did when I was in the office and participating with my team," says UNO Business Professor, Mark Rosa.

Rosa, says there's a fine line between independence and isolation.

"I think it could work," he says. "But, the feedback I'm getting is that some remote workers are feeling removed and detached."

Apparently, when they don't see or hear their colleagues over a long period of time, they can become less committed to the team and the organization.

"And then it manifests itself that somebody is saying "Well, I really feel detached and maybe I need to look for another job," Rosa says. 

And, it's easy for them to start looking for their next opportunity, since no one is looking over their shoulder while they job search.

The study found that remote workers are much less likely to stay at their company long-term. Only 5 percent always or very often see themselves working at their company for their entire career, compared to almost a third that never work remotely. 

Humans, apparently need social interaction.

"How many meetings are done at the office just as a matter of routine...you walk into somebody's office to ask a question, you go see a person in their office while you're in the same building...and I think less of that is likely to happen if the person is physically not in the office."

And, Rosa says it may well benefit employees to be seen by their employers and colleagues.

"There's some peripheral ingredient there about it just being face time...when promotions are being considered and other personnel type actions are being considered, that you had face time with your bosses and your teammates."

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