What should I do if I don’t like working remotely? – Redlands Daily Facts


Q. I am a 74-year-old single woman and need to continue working as a hospital administrator. Working remotely for the past four months has made me feel isolated and captive in my own apartment. I miss my colleagues and work friends particularly since my entire social life centers around my work. I sense that the remote work model will become permanent. And, of course, a layoff is always possible. Given that I don’t like this distance work arrangement, what should I begin to think about for my next steps? G.L.

Dear G.L. 

Taking a proactive approach is wise rather than waiting until you feel more isolated or insecure about your job. 

The concern about your position becoming permanently remote is a reality. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College calculates that 44 percent of workers ages 55 to 64 and 47 percent of those 65 and older had jobs in 2018 that could be done remotely.

One option is to find a new employer. Here’s the bad news. Many of the available jobs may entail the remote workstyle. Additionally, unemployment rates are projected to reach 15 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office as employers are furloughing or terminating millions of workers. Furthermore, job postings have significantly decreased. 

Here’s the good news: Although employers are eliminating many workers, that’s not the case for all industries. According to an article by author Nancy Collamer published by Next Avenue (May 4, 2020), job opportunities have emerged in areas including health care, technology, finance, online tutoring and businesses considered essential such as grocery stores, delivery services and manufacturers of protection equipment. Explore some online resources: Jobscan.co, Flexjobs.com, Job-Hunt.org, RetirementJobs.com for age-friendly employers and LinkedIn.com. 

Despite the unknowns, the first step is to research industries that are hiring. Most jobs occur through networking and referrals, not through online postings. Begin talking to colleagues and friends and conduct informational interviews that serve the purpose of researching an industry while building rapport. In the current environment, one may need to use a video conference platform such as Zoom. If you have personal or professional contacts, use them. 

Preparation is important. Here are some questions to ask suggested by Noelle Gross, a career coach in Stamford, CN, as quoted in the Next Avenue article.

  • “Where are you seeing the most opportunities in this industry?
  • What is one problem within your department/company/field that if solved would make your life a lot easier?
  • Is there anyone else you think I should talk to as I continue to gather information?”

I would add an additional question that asks about the work arrangement.

Some additional tips are suggested by Collamer. On your resume, cite experience with specific technologies such as GotoWebinar or Zoom as well as familiarity with document sharing tools such as Google Docs. Mention some soft skills such as experience with written communications. Since recruiters use social media to recruit talent, maintain an active digital identity, build a professional network online and monitor social media for job opportunities.

Here are two realities. The only positions available require a remote presence with no buddies to join you at lunch or a coffee break. If that’s the case, ask if the job might entail a combination of an onsite and a remote working arrangement? 



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