Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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We Mean Business > Slippers or Heels? Telecommuting stirs strong opinions on both sides A THINKSTOCKPHOTOS.COM vs. di v ers i tywoman.com By Katie Morell nna Swiontoniowski considers telecommuting the bane of her existence and is thrilled that she had to do it for only seven weeks. It was early May 2013 when her ofce in Des Plaines, Illinois, experienced mass fooding during weeks of torrential rains in the Chicago area and she was forced to work from her 700-square-foot highrise apartment. At frst, she loved the concept. "I would wake up, make cofee, brush my teeth, walk the dog, and sit in front of my computer with the TV on for background noise. It was great," she says. It wasn't long, though, before she found herself spending entire days in her pajamas, becoming annoyed with her dog for wanting to go out every fve minutes ("I swear he was harassing me with his squeak toy," she says), and getting distracted by doing laundry and watching LIVE with Kelly & Michael (she confessed to being an addict by week three). Not only was she unproductive, but she noticed a palpable shift in her social demeanor when around other humans. "When I'd go to meetings, Accelerate I would feel psychologically rusty, like my face-to-face social skills had atrophied," she says, adding that feelings of isolation started to set in early on. "I would meet up with friends on a weekend and have a hard time talking to them because I was out of practice being face-to-face." Four weeks into her involuntary work-from-home arrangement (her ofce in the suburbs was undergoing a mandatory food-related renovation), Swiontoniowski called her boss and started begging to come back. Dr. Christine Tsien Silvers would have a hard time understanding Swiontoniowski's point of Fal l 2 0 1 3 DI VE R SI T Y W O MAN 35

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