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Perhaps it is because I was raised with a strong work ethic, but I always felt conflicted when weather-related driving conditions were outside my comfort zone, yet not going into the office was a source of discomfort as well.

Wake up on a workday and see a storm in progress. The plows haven’t cleared the road yet and the weather forecasters are hyping it up like the storm of the century. Oh no – what to do!

I was thrilled when technology advanced to the point where my company’s intranet was accessible at home. Essentially, when I landed in my virtual work environment, I was in the office. However, my solace was limited by the managers who continued to frown upon the work-at-home concept even in bad weather conditions. Understandably, in a call center environment, on-site staff is needed to answer the phones. Physical presence is also required in a hard-copy or meeting-oriented workplace. Let’s face it – some managers simply need to see a live body behind a desk to believe productivity is taking place, especially when the thinking is, “If I got into the office, why can’t you?” Never mind that they have four-wheel drive, a short commute, a neighborhood without hills, fear of nothing, or all of the above.

Well, I got lucky. Now I have a home-based corporate position. I do recall getting anxious when Yahoo reversed their work-at-home policy, fearful that other companies would follow suit. Though skeptics still exist and remain displeased with the work-at-home scenario even on a snow day, it must be a relief to managers who otherwise would fret over employees arriving at staggered times or not at all.

For jobs that are computer-based and paperless, I don’t see the need for brick and mortar offices unless there is a level of distrust. I find it ironic that some managers claim that encouraging interaction with team members is the basis for requiring office presence, yet chatting is discouraged. How do they distinguish between team bonding and frivolous chatter?

So, here I am on my lunch break – yes, even work-at-homers get a lunch break – working without the stress and fatigue derived from bad-weather driving, while my friends are ridden with guilt as they work in their virtual workspace and hear that other employees made it into the office. It’s a cold world, literally in the northeast and figuratively for those who need to make that judgment call – should I go in or shouldn’t I?

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