Which Workers are Suited for Remote Work?

I have been reading “Developer Hegemony” by Erik Dietrich, and was introduced to the “Gervais Principal”, which is based on the American version of the television show The Office. I encourage you to read more about it on Erik Dietrich’s website. Dietrich splits up the corporate structure into three groups. He called the “pragmatists”, “idealists”, and “opportunists”. Pragmatists are the line level employees who derive their value from their life outside of work, idealists are the people who love their company or their occupation and derive their value from their own dedication, opportunists derive their value through ladder climbing and give up human connections to make it to the top.

Clearly, from this trichotomy of workers, the pragmatists are not a good fit for remote work, since their source of personal worth is separated from their work. Idealists are probably the best fit for remote work, since they will give up their free time for the company or their occupation. Opportunists may be able to work remotely for a short time, but they will find that being far more than 30 meters from anyone in management makes it harder to ascend the corporate ladder.

Employee trust is highest among the idealists, who can also be used as a scapegoat who can be used when a project fails. Being in this position of an easy-to-blame remote worker, opportunists can and will take advantage of the remote worker’s reduced bargaining power.

It is probably more of a sign that a company isn’t doing well when management starts blaming the remote workers than it is an actual problem with them being remote workers.