Monday, August 25, 2008

Telecommuting for Dummies

Today I am telecommuting from my dad's house in Missouri. It is the first time in four years that I've been back to Missouri to see family and friends and this time I had a husband and baby girl to bring with me.

Working from home has its rewards. I regularly work two days a week from home and so I follow news about telecommuters closely. My ears also perk up when I hear someone speaking negatively about telecommuting (which happens infrequently, but does still happen).

Why do people still have a problem with the idea of telecommuting? Save the Earth! Work/Life Balance! Viva New Technologies! What do those who decry telecommuting see that I don't? I read a really fantastic article about this very topic on Zen Habits (which sounds a little too granola for my usual taste).

The author writes:

4. People don’t have to be in an office. This is the one I wish most businesses would get, right now, right away. It’s so obvious once you get away from the traditional mindset. Traditionally, people worked in offices (and of course most still do). They go into the office, do their work, go to meeting, process paperwork, chat around the watercooler, clock out and go home.

These days, more and more, that’s not necessary. With mobile computing, the cloud, online apps and collaborative processes, work can be done from anywhere, and often is. More people are telecommuting. More people are working as freelancers or consultants. More businesses are allowing people to work from anywhere — not just telecommuting from home, but literally anywhere in the world. People are forming small businesses who have never met, who live on different continents. People have meetings through Skype or Basecamp group chat. They collaborate through wikis and Google apps.

If you are stuck in the traditional mindset, think hard about what things really need to be done in an office. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for working in an office, but often those barriers have other solutions you just haven’t explored yet.

The advantages of a decentralized workplace are many. Workers who have more freedom are happier, and often more passionate about their work. They enjoy collaborating with others who are smart and talented, and work is no longer drudgery. Flexible schedules work well for many people’s lifestyles. Mobile computing is actually good for many types of businesses where people need to be on the go. And what really matters isn’t that the worker is present, but that the work is being done. (...)



I think it is up to all telecommuters to be fair and diligent to ensure faith in us while we are out of the office. I also think the people who are working in the office need to be just as diligent about working regularly and recognizing the long coffee breaks and visits with neighbors often claim more time than they do for telecommuters.

Of course, should you choose to deviate from work while telecommuting OR working in your cubic-hell, here are a few ways to do so...
  1. Start a blog
  2. Look for new blogs to add to your RSS reader
  3. Read articles on SEO
  4. Get out the Wii
  5. Volunteer! :)
  6. Dust
  7. Commit to Twitter
  8. and Facebook
  9. Get a dog...a real, live dog
  10. Have a baby

For more great advice on telecommuting, check out this site:

1 comment:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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