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Accounting News Roundup: Remote Working, Lying, and Cardigans | 05.19.17


Remote workers

I don’t know if most accounting firms offer their employees the option to work remotely, but I get the sense that it has become more accepted in recent years. The timing of this acceptance seems about right given that one of the “pioneers” of remote work, IBM, is now abandoning the idea:

International Business Machines Corp. is giving thousands of its remote workers in the U.S. a choice this week: Abandon your home workspaces and relocate to a regional office—or leave the company.

The 105-year-old technology giant is quietly dismantling its popular decades-old remote work program to bring employees back into offices, a move it says will improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work.

A lot of people will probably read this article and go, “Oh, it’s IBM. Maybe we should think about this more,” and that’s dumb. Full disclosure: I’ve worked remotely for nearly 8 years and if my company told me that I needed to relocate in order to work at a physical location, I would probably start hyperventilating.

There’s a reason remote working arrangements work so well: People really like them! They like freedom to work from anywhere and the flexibility that the rigors and confines of an office discourage. Some people consider this to be “not working” which is absurd. It’s pretty hard to not do anything productive and keep a job. (If you have a job that allows this, however, congratulations.)

And the claim that bringing people back into offices “will improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work” is a pretty weak argument. Working in an office is full of annoyances, distraction, and inefficiencies. Yes, the movie Office Space was satire, but it also was an accurate depiction of the worst aspects of working at a mega company and those things that don’t make people more productive. They cause them to waste time and come up with harebrained schemes. Don’t act surprised if IBM offices start burning to the ground regularly.

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Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about technology disorders. Adrienne Gonzalez started a new series that features a Day in the Life of various accounting professionals. First up: Accounting Professor Alan Jagolinzer from the University of Colorado.

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