BYU students share mixed opinions about remote work

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This desk space is located in an office building in downtown Provo. BYU students say that working in person increases productivity. (Stacia O’Leary)

While some BYU students prefer working remotely as opposed to traditional in-person alternatives, several say working in-person facilitates more camaraderie between co-workers. Additionally, they say it increases productivity and access to immediate help.

Strategic management major Kristen Schumann said she works a hybrid schedule of two days in the office and the rest are spent remotely.

Schumann said developing quality relationships with co-workers takes time, and in-person is the best place for those types of relationships to be fostered.

“Being in-person is more natural. I feel like I can develop better authentic friendships when I am in-person,” she said.

Schumann said she also believes fully in-person work environments are not necessary for some fields and advocates for a hybrid work style, working in person a few days a week and remotely other days.

“Some in-person interaction is really important for really good collaboration and connection, but I think it can easily be organized and planned so that if happens a couple days a week and people can do more asynchronous work other days of the week,” she said.

On the contrary, applied math major Abraham Harris, who currently works fully remote, said he believes his work would be improved by in-person work. Harris works for the College of Language Studies as a data scientist designing artificial intelligence to help place students in the correct level of language classes based on their abilities.

“I think one of my biggest challenges is that, since I work alone, and I don’t really have a team, there is not really anyone that I can ask questions to, so I have to do a lot of research to figure things out on my own,” he said.

In addition to being able to collaborate with others during in-person work, Harris said he believes he would be able to work more hours if he came into an office instead of working remotely.

“Sometimes I would work more hours and earn more money, but it is harder to motivate myself when I am by myself,” Harris said. “But if I am going in (person) to work, then I think it would be easier to put in more hours.”

While some, such as Harris, think the optimal work environment is in person, others, such as cyber security major Lucas Lima, are comfortable working either in person or remotely. Lima said he began at his current position working fully in person, and now works fully remote, providing him with both perspectives.

“The blessing of remote is that I can just take my laptop with me,” he said.

Although Lima said he sees the appeal of remote work, he also agrees productivity in the workplace is higher than during remote work, saying he is more productive in person and encounters fewer distractions.

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