Matthew Gates 12m 1,726 #telecommuting
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Decision To Get Laid Off Or Relocate After Telecommuting
When it comes to any company, hiring people, promoting people, laying off people, and firing people — it almost is never personal for the business. It is always just business. An organization will do all it can to save itself money, even if it must fire employees and hire new ones at half the rate. While you want to think that companies are run by humans, with a human heart, and human compassion, there are almost none that actually think this way. When it comes to running an organization, it’s all about numbers. Numbers made and numbers lost.
If those numbers don’t match up to the standards of the company, then people’s lives are changed forever. However, a company also must look out for number one, just as any human being must look out for number one. If it doesn’t look out for itself, it will fail and take everyone under with it. Therefore, a company must grow, change, adapt, and in the most severe and hardest cases, part with its employees.
A while ago, I wrote an article about the benefits of telecommuting in which I discuss the ease of a work-life balance. While it is not for everyone, it does allow for an extraordinary amount of commitment and productivity to the job. It alleviates much of the stress driving to and from work. A supervisor or project manager can also acquire well-rounded employees from around the United States, allowing for different hours to be easily covered. There are plenty of benefits to working from home or telecommuting.
Unfortunately, my company was no different than any other company, and decided they would be laying off over 50 to 100 telecommuting employees or have them relocate to work in an office location. They cited that due to communication issues, it would be more productive for everyone to work in an office together. The company probably expects nearly an entire loss of its staff because the telecommuters are from around the United States – as far as Seattle, Washington to Washington, D.C.
The majority of whom have established lives, have children, have husbands or wives, families, and will be unable to just uproot their lives and move to a completely different place. Thus, while the company may feel this is benefiting them, they have ruined the lives of those who cannot relocate – and even those who can relocate – and newly added to the unemployment department are those employees who may not be able to find jobs. Again, this is just business for the company and probably nothing personal. I love my job, I respect and appreciate my company for employing me, but I do not necessarily agree with their practices of eliminating telecommuting completely and laying off over almost all of their employees, some who have been there for years, and forcing them to relocate and completely change their lives.
I believe that Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, is setting a very dangerous trend for companies who believe the telecommuting is impersonal, unproductive, and a waste of money and time. These are complete misconceptions. Working both as as a telecommuter and in an office – both separately and at the same time – I have seen both worlds, experienced both worlds, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Whether one is more productive than the other is up to question. Marissa Mayer is a tough woman who, while pregnant and gave birth to her child as a CEO, decided she would have a nursery built inside of her office in order to work and spend time with her child. Unfortunately, the majority of workers will not make even a half of the quarter of the net worth of $300 million that Marissa Mayer is estimated to be worth.
The majority of women employees do not work at a place with a nursery and they certainly do not have the option of having one built for them, where they can drop off their children and visit them throughout the day. While I don’t have any research as to how many distractions stay-at-home-working mothers face, I am sure that – judging by the majority of intelligent businesswomen, including my own girlfriend – they are able to multi-task very well, and thus, I believe that women working at home are able to have an excellent work-life balance of spending time with their children while also completing any tasks they need to get done for their job. They are able to take their jobs very seriously, while also ensuring their family is comfortable as well.
My job requires me to answer emails and perform tasks of designing websites utilizing HTML5 and CSS and ensuring cross-browser and mobile compatibility. Since there are multiple web designers, there are also mistakes made, so I must also check the work of the web designer prior to me to ensure that everything is coded correctly. This only takes a few minutes. How do they know I am doing my job? How do they check? The Project Manager, who is the cross-communication between the client and the web designers gives us a certain amount of time to perform the task – anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours.
If the job is done, I send an email stating I am done. The sooner, the better. If the job is not done, they will know because they never received an email from me, and they will likely report to me directly, or actually complain to my immediate supervisor about my performance. Thus, I am obligated to get the work done and I have a certain amount of time to get it done.
While working at home, I usually log in 10 minutes early, check my emails, and await the work tasks sent to me. I work the night shift because clients operate 24/7 and do not abide by the 9 – 5 PM work hours. The night shift is actually the busiest and we receive sometimes 3 to 4 websites per night. I also tend to stay later after hours in order to finish up any projects and I usually do not charge for the extra half hour that I stay. While I know I can do this in an office as well, I still have to be conscious about the traffic that I am going to endure on the road if I don’t get out of work in time to head home.
By moving into an office, the company is eliminating late hours because the majority of workers will probably not want to travel to an office at 6 PM and work until 2 AM. The reality? The company is eliminating a lot of extra money – thousands of dollars that could be made – but will probably be lost due to business being closed after business hours. Any smart company knows, competition exists, and if you are not a 24/7 hour business, your competition will be in order to grab the clients that you missed while your business was closed.
I do not know what is going to happen, but my company has given me the option to relocate, and I am actually going to take it since it’s in a part of the country that I’ve always wanted to live. I suppose it also gives me material to write about for this website. It is a hard choice: Get laid off or relocate to another part of the country.
In other words, the company just said: You need to take your family with you or you need to leave your family in order to stay employed with us. While I’m thankful for the opportunity, it is not an easy decision. Luckily, I do not have a wife nor kids and I can uproot fairly easily. But it doesn’t mean that my life isn’t going to change. Living in a completely new area, with no guarantee that the company will keep me employed, and no guarantee that they could flop due to their decision.
The whole idea against telecommuting and the idea of relocation – which sometimes makes sense, but for a company to attempt to move 100 employees from around the country to a single location – is almost impossible and insane. The effects are ginormous and not only are lives changed and most ruined for a while, but a person must really think long and hard about how much their life could change by relocating.
Relocating is a very scary process. If I wasn’t open to it, it would be an open and shut case and I’d start looking for another job. What’s the issue? Why can’t I do that? Well, I actually wanted to experience another living in another part of the country, so in a way, it’s beneficial. On the other hand, I am leaving family behind. I’m nervous about going to a new place, meeting new people, and basically experiencing a culture shock – all with no guarantee that I will be employed for long after. I suppose this is the risk in being a telecommuter and relocating.
There is always the most chosen option: Get laid off. Lose respect for the company that you were loyal to for so many months or years. Lose the job you were good at, that you loved, and that you worked hard doing. Spend months finding another job, another company, to attempt loyalty again, to relearn new things, get used to a whole bunch of new employees, in hopes that you will be good at what you do and that you actually have a job for more than a few years. This is the job market nowadays. Nothing is secure, nothing is guaranteed, and everyone is replaceable – and there is always someone who will work for a cheaper price.
At least, I did get to live the dream for a while and work my dream job – working from home. It was an amazing experience and I really hope to find another job that allows me to work at home, but it took me about a year and a half just to find a job that allowed for telecommuting and paid great money doing it. Unfortunately, the time has come for me to return back to the office.
And in 2020, once the pandemic hit, I got my wish and returned back to telecommuting permanently!