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Yes, Remote Workers Actually Work

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

"If I worked from home, I would never get anything done."


I can't count how many people have said that to me over the last 20 years that I've been writing novels and working from home. And now that I've launched my digital nomad journey and I'm writing from the Caribbean, people keep saying, "I wouldn't be able to concentrate with the sea right outside my window." Here's the thing about remote work: we have to work or we don't get paid. So, we work. It's that simple. And for me, working in my own space is so much easier and far more productive than working in an office. Around a decade ago, I was unable to find enough remote writing work, so I took an onsite Sr. Instructional Designer position. For 10 months, I commuted 45 minutes each way and sat in a cubicle that was so cold I wore a puffy coat at my desk. People chatted endlessly over cubicle walls. Years of being an Instructional Designer had taught me about Cognitive Load Theory, but nothing proved the split attention effect more vividly than trying to write while people all around me talked. I started wearing earplugs so I could concentrate. When that didn't work, I booked conference rooms and hid there in my puffy coat and earplugs and closed the door so I could actually think. Considering the constant interruption, noise, and temperature discomfort, I started to track how long it would take me to get things done in the office versus how long it would take me to do the same work at home, in the quiet, without a puffy coat and earplugs.

It took eight hours of office time for me to complete four hours of at home work. So, not only was I really uncomfortable, I was less productive. There's a fallacy that people who work from home don't actually work, but I've found the opposite to be true. I work faster, more efficiently, and more comfortably at home than I ever could in an office. The pandemic forced a lot of companies that may never have considered going remote to do so. It's been fascinating to help clients navigate and manage remote, and now blended, workforces and think about training and development in new and different ways. Some of my friends have gone back to the office and they're thankful for the sense of teamwork and ability to coach face to face. Other friends are dreading impending commutes and constant interruptions. Other friends will now work remote permanently. As I continue to do instructional design work, write my new novel, and query agents with my book club fiction, ALL THE MOMENTS IN BETWEEN, I wonder, what about you? Do you prefer working remote or onsite? And why?


8 Kommentare


I used to think I needed to be in the office. But after this past year I never want to go back. I’ve never worked so hard as I have from home this last year.

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Suzanne Casamento
Suzanne Casamento
28. Aug. 2021
Antwort an

I totally get that. I will NEVER go back to an office. And yes, you worked your buns off.

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heidi.green
heidi.green
09. Aug. 2021

I used to think that working in an office was a "real job" and working from home...not, I guess. I worked from home for five years, part-time, making as much money as I'd made at my full-time job. Still, I felt I needed to go back to an office. Finally, a head-hunter convinced me to accept a "training owner" role for a relatively new software start-up. The next 10 months were a painful revelation. (Suzanne, we have that 10 months thing in common!) I'd forgotten, or maybe become intolerant of, how much offices can be like high school. Daily fashion assessments, cliques, catty gossiping (if you weren't IN the conversation, it was probably ABOUT you), back stabbing, disingenuous offers of…

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Suzanne Casamento
Suzanne Casamento
09. Aug. 2021
Antwort an

I didn't even think about those aspects. You are so right! We definitely don't have to worry about what we wear or who might be talking about us at home. 😊

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Eric Kelley
Eric Kelley
09. Aug. 2021

I don't ever want to go back into an office. I understand myself and my contribution better while working from home. I understand what periods of the day are high energy and focus times (and I'm constantly learning why this is), and which are probably better left to meetings or administrative tasks. Even the constraints related to working from home (network bandwidth; performance) make me more efficient and planful with my time and compute resources.

Did I need to arrive at a certain place in my career path & professional social skills to pull this off? Absolutely. Being who I am, I doubt that I could have developed the sense of ownership, project and program awareness, & entrepreneurial confidence i…


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Suzanne Casamento
Suzanne Casamento
09. Aug. 2021
Antwort an

Wow. This is fascinating. When I read "the other productivity-death-by-a-thousand-cuts" which happen in an office setting, my shoulders caved in. It sounds like working from home has offered great perspective and that you know what works best for you. I hope you never have to go back to an office!

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When I first started working from home I was easily distracted by chores I wanted to do ......"Oh, look at those weeds in the garden", and pulling them would lead to 3 hours of gardening ........ but after an adjustment period I find I'm much more productive at home. Now, I actually have the other problem - I don't stop and I work far too much.

I wonder though, how parents with kids at home fare?

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Suzanne Casamento
Suzanne Casamento
09. Aug. 2021
Antwort an

You make a great point about working too much! Especially because coworkers are in different time zones. I might see they've messaged me about something and it's only 6:00 am where I am but I know they're working since it's 9:00 am there, so I'll end up starting earlier than I should. As for people working at home with kids, I pray for them!

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