Telecommuting (Part 2)
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
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To me, the most dramatic gain is the efficiency. When a company I worked for was bought by a larger outfit, I began working at home 3-4 days a week. What I soon noticed that I was finishing the same amount of work by 11am or Noon at home that it would take me until 5pm at the office. Some of this may sound anti-social, but once you removed the need to dress professionally, removed the commute, took shorter lunches, and stopped socializing with office mates, that really did start to add up to about 3-4 hours. Granted, your pool of work acquaintances or people with whom you interact goes away, often meaning that you can get to noon without speaking to anybody - that may seem anti-social. But in a telecommuting environment, you still do interact with the other members of your team. If you want to be friends with those people, you still can.
Yes there are times when it's good to be in the same room. When it's time to collaborate that way or you need to be in front of a whiteboard, then go into the office; or if you've eliminated an office entirely, then go to each other's house, a Starbucks, rent a room, or get creative. Robert and I have had project meetings while playing tennis, yelling work-related things across the net. Brad and I on a project last year went on a company work camp (aka "nerdcation") on a cruise ship. It worked great!
Now here's the rub: This only works for companies and employers if the work being completed is measurable. Think about that sentence again. A job like public relations may be harder to measure, or other jobs without specific "deliverables". But if I need an app written and we all have planned, discussed how long we are budgeting for - if we said 6 weeks and it took 6 weeks and performed well, as a manager I really don't care if it took them 4 easy weeks to do it. I really don't. Salespeople usually have similar work standards, if they meet their quotas, great! There are stories of employees who have outsourced their own jobs to China - if you are performing your job beyond expectations, then who should have a problem with it, whether they work at home, in the office, or send their job overseas.