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Other employees can telecommute - I’m resentful of that privilege

Q. Some of my co-workers are allowed to telecommute, but I am not. I know it’s because of the nature of my job being different from theirs, but I can’t help feeling resentful that they have this privilege. How can I avoid showing my resentment when I see them in the office?

A. Every work situation has positives and negatives. I think the mistake you are making is looking only at what you see as the positives of telecommuting. Have you asked any of those co-workers about the down side?

When I first started my career coaching business 20 years ago, I worked from home. At first, it was great to get up, put on casual clothing and not have to drive through rush hour traffic to an office. Then my four children came home from school mid-afternoon and the quiet work environment ended abruptly. After a year or so, the novelty of the home office started to wear thin. I definitely missed the day-to-day interactions with my colleagues.  

Of course, that could just be me; I know others who love working from home. Not everyone’s personality is well-suited to doing their job outside the office. Employees who operate well in telecommuting situations are those who prefer to work independently without the daily face-to-face contact of an office environment. 

There are definite advantages to working at the company location. Employees are more likely to receive specific feedback on their work performance, know more precisely what is expected of them and have opportunities to build solid relationships with other company personnel through team projects, casual conversations, etc.

Your question stated that the telecommuting employees have a different job from yours, which makes it an option for them. Do you have a desire and the option to do their job instead of yours? If so, apply for the next opportunity. If not, find the positives in your own work situation and remind yourself of them whenever the feelings of resentment begin.

The Tenth Commandment says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”  I think you could include in this your co-workers’ telecommuting privileges.