Part 3 of 3
If you tuned in to the first two parts of this three part blog series on associations transitioning to a virtual workplace, you’ve already read about why and how The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has been working to transition to a virtual workplace. In this last segment, two staff members were interviewed and asked to share their perspectives.
Kristen Suchor, Director of Affiliated Groups is no stranger to working remotely. In fact, she’s been working remotely part-time for quite some time now and is transitioning to an increased virtual schedule.
Suchor said there are many different pros and cons when it comes to working remotely. For her, the benefits of working remotely include:
- More productivity and less interruptions
- Advanced technology that provides everything an office environment would provide
- Reimbursement of out of pocket expenses for items related to work
- Flexibility and improved work-life balance
- Virtual space allows for fast tracking the hiring process in expanded search areas
- Staff accountability in the virtual space is increased to some degree due to staff’s independence
While Suchor enjoys working from home, she lives near the office and chooses to go in a couple of days per week. She expressed enjoying working from the office because it seems more routine in nature and enables face-to-face interaction with her co-workers which more easily enables relationship-building.
For perspective from a newer employee, we interviewed Debbie Fillinich, Membership & Marketing Director. Fillinich is completely new to working remotely but has been doing so on a full-time basis with NCTE for one year. According to Fillinich the cost and time commitment are very different than they would be working from an office in the following ways:
- Travel time to go to an office takes a big chunk out of your day
- Commuting hours are now spent working
- It takes very little time to get ready for the work day
- There is no longer the need to buy work attire
Fillinich said she’s had to work hard to shift her mindset. She’s had to get over feeling like she has to be available every moment of the day and has had to acclimate to independently take time for things like lunch and breaks. It was important for her to establish a designated work space at home. She treats it just like she’s going into the office and leaves it behind at the end of the day.
What Fillinich misses most about working in an office is in-person interaction with co-workers. She expressed that it has been somewhat of an adjustment to use online tools to communicate casually with her peers. While it can be more challenging to build or maintain relationships in a virtual workplace, the positive side is that working remotely affords her more productivity due to not having the common interruptions that take place in a physical office setting.
In conclusion, Suchor and Fillinich have different experience when it comes to working remotely. Even so, they’ve shared some similar pros and cons. While working from home has many perks, the downside seems to weigh heavily on the lack of personal daily interaction with their peers. Overall, both Suchor and Fillinich enjoy their time working from home and fully support NCTE’s transition to a virtual workplace.