Monday, December 03, 2007


Despite being able to lounge in PJs all day and finish up a load of laundry while on a conference call, it is probably true that telecommuting will not be the choice of the masses anytime soon. Anyone with a micro-managing, control freak of a boss will attest to that. Then there are those who are passionate about moving to the corner office, getting face time with and thereby recognition from powers that be - their year end reviews and bonuses depend on those opportunities.

Having telecommuted a few times in the past, my personal experience has been mixed. The work day gets off to a relaxed start, I can actually sit down and have breakfast and obviously save myself gas money and the commute. But the days always end up being much longer. As a telecommuter, it feels as if you are presumed to be a slacker unless there is evidence to the contrary.

It is not possible to walk away from the computer and have the messaging service show you as idle. At the workplace it would probably mean a bathroom break but with a telecommuter your co-workers will wonder aloud if you are out shopping or running errands while "pretending" to be at work. If your manager has trust issues, this does not bode well for you.

You log in early and log out late to mitigate the risk of having your absence noticed by those who are at work and therefore on an unstated moral high-ground. Unless the organization actively encourages telecommuting and has senior management leading by example, it is hard for the rest of the workforce to make it a way of work for the majority of the time. Telecommuting seems to be most effective as an option people can exercise occasionally.

1 comment:

ggop said...

Telecommuting once a week is common in some of the bigger companies in California.

Someone mentioned how full time telecommuters would have less visibility and would be passed over for tech lead promotions. Does that perception hold true in the s/w industry?

In chip design, the once a week model works better than five times a week. (Unless you have a great webex/netmeeting facility which I have not come across so far)