I have worked at company head quarters, remote offices, and from my own home (rolling out of bed and falling to a computer at times).
There are definitely pros and cons to the various situations. I remember the time when I realized that I hadn’t left my house for three days, and it freaked me out. From that time on I made sure to set the lofty goal of “get out of the house” at least once a day 😉
We are survivors. One technique to help us in that quest for propagation is to try our best to predict the future. As anyone who watches the weather forecast or stock market knows, this isn’t an easy task. We have a very small sample of data that we need to run simulations against. We are also looking for the worst possible scenarios to make sure we are prepared for them. Why am I mentioning this? I think it is the root cause of the phenomenon that I see when folks outside of the nucleus of a company fear that they are missing out.
Just imagine all of the water cooler discussions you may be missing! What if you were sitting next to the CEO! Surely you would be more plugged in and understand the strategy and what you should be doing!
If you feel that way, find someone who has done the switch. The person who has been remote and local and I bet you find the following:
Sorry, there is no magic water here. I still have to do the hard work to tie what I am doing to the mission. I still have to hunt to find answers. I still feel uneasy that I don’t know the entire context
It isn’t crazy that we feel like we are missing out on things. For one, all it takes is one piece of information that you hear about second hand to get the mind turning…. “what else should I know that I don’t know?”
There are also times where there are real disconnects. Someone forgets to setup the VC. You aren’t invited to That Meeting. You don’t get to have a beer on a Friday with some of the team you really want to be well connected with.
Also remember though that they are remote to you. It is a two way street. It is most painful if you are a distributed employee working as the only remote worker on the team. That is the extreme. However most of the time these days people are all over the shop.
I used to enjoy the notion of a “Slack Week” where everyone was forbidden to work from the office so they can get a true feeling for what it is like to be distributed. It can help you empathize with your co-workers, and can also sometimes show you how productive you can be when you aren’t stuck in the same meetings all week 😉
So, what are you missing out on as a remote worker? Probably not as much as you think.