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The Remote Balance

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Feb 20, 2014. It is being re-published as Steve is out of town.

I still have hope that we will see more and more remote workers in the future. As large companies downsize and choose smaller facilities, and as many new companies start from scratch, we'll see many of them considering telecommuting to find the best technologists for their openings as well as reduce their infrastructure costs. As noted in the book, Remote: "Today, the new paradigm is move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace."

I don't know if we'll ever get the majority of people working remotely from offices or at home, but I do know that I see more and more people able to get work done outside of a traditional office. I see people checking email and responding to trouble tickets in all sorts of situations, and with all sorts of jobs. I suspect that businesspeople continue to do this more and more as devices and software expand to allow it.

I saw that quote from Remote in a blog from Scott Hanselman where he also commented on that idea, but noted that we need to strive for some balance. It is great that you can fix a problem at your kid's soccer game or dance recital, but it's also important that you attend and enjoy those events.

Like most tools, our remote access can be good or bad. If you check too often, become tethered to devices, and ignore the real world, that's bad. However if you leave the office early, get to the game, and get some work done before the action starts, that's good. Just don't forget to prioritize the important stuff, which is usually not work. It's the event you're attending.

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