Remote possibilities vs. workplace opportunities.

There are some definite pluses to working from home. No time lost to the commute. Fewer unnecessary meetings. And every day is bring your dog to work day.

But there are also challenges to working remotely. Last week we Tweeted about some extraordinary places where humans have taken remote work to the extreme. One of those was the lighthouse on Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania.

It is so remote that birds outnumber people by 500,000 to one. The job of reporting weather data and maintaining the facilities on the island is handled by a couple. It is isolated, arduous, and demands incredible resourcefulness. Despite all this, there is a waiting list for the job.

Meanwhile, back in civilization, companies like Shopify have announced that 15,000 of their employees will be working from home in the future, based on their success doing so during the pandemic. The takeaway: humans are resilient and adaptable.

But let’s not forget that there can also be definite pluses to being in a workplace around colleagues.

Here at Prospect, collaboration is one of our core values. If you have an idea, all doors are open. You can share it with the CEO, a co-worker across the hall, or the receptionist and get immediate feedback. It’s certainly possible to do that via technology, but it’s not the same. Have you ever overheard two people having a hallway chat about a problem and joined in with a perspective? That’s impossible to do online.

Then there are the intangibles. When meetings happen in person you can read body language (some studies suggest 90% of communication is non-verbal). Laughter rings through the hallways. And lastly, at our NE Calgary office we get the benefit of hearing our receptionist, Danny, belt out soulful renditions of beautiful songs. The casual banter, laughter, and the songs are good for everyone’s state of mind.

Well-being has emerged as an essential component of staying productive. On Maatsuyker Island, the lighthouse keepers have three principal duties: maintain the buildings, the grounds, and the drainage. But their first priority is maintaining their own well-being.

Some liken this to the safety lecture on an aircraft: put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help your companions. So take it to heart whether you choose to work remotely or in a workplace. Pay attention to your own mental and physical health, so you can be of benefit to others.