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Balancing act: Beware of jealousy when employees telecommute

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 8:20 a.m. MDT

"For workers over the age of 65, the numbers jump to 65 percent," the Kona press release said. "Sixty percent of parents and 75 percent of those that earn over $100,000 per year are jealous of co-workers that telecommute."

These numbers surprised me, but perhaps that's because I haven't witnessed this kind of jealousy with my group.

Maybe my team members who don't have jobs that lend themselves to working from home hide their raging envy from me and quietly seethe in their cubicles, but I really don't think that's the case. As I said before, we're a collaborative group, and we do a great job of working together and staying on the same page, even when some people aren't in the office.

I truly believe that, like me, the people on my team are more concerned with performance and productivity than with "face time." If a team member's telecommuting was making us miss deadlines or produce low-quality content, we'd all be concerned. But that hasn't happened.

Still, I see how jealousy could be a problem in some groups. As I've mentioned in previous columns on this topic, telecommuting doesn't work for every job class or even every employee within a given category. Any time one person is thought to be receiving a benefit that his co-workers don't receive, envy could be the result.

In such cases, it's up to the manager to communicate effectively with her team and to make sure she's being fair and transparent about telecommuting opportunities. While taking those steps may not completely resolve feelings of jealousy, they should at least ease the concerns of reasonable team members.

I'd be interested in your reactions to this survey. Do you telecommute occasionally or have co-workers who do so? If you do, are you productive during your work-from-home days? If you don't, are you jealous of teammates who are able to work remotely? Why do you feel that way?

Please send me your ideas, and I'll share some of your responses in a future column.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.

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