• 02/19/2014
    10:06 AM
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Telecommuting: The Hazards Of Mobile Access

Cloud computing and mobile access mean employees can work from anywhere today. But do they really want to?

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It just hit me the other day that I've worked from home for 17 years (gasp). The few times I've had to wwrite or edit in an office, it's been a big shock to the system - the people! The noise! The chocolate and bagels and choice of K-cups! It's like moving from a bucolic farm into an apartment just off Times Square.

Exclusively working from home is a "be careful what you wish for" situation because after a few years, you utterly lose your ability to focus away from that quiet cocoon. Be warned!

Working from home has drastically improved my quality of life

Just think about this logically for a second. How much sense does it make to drive across town every time you need to talk to someone? Making a quick phone call is probably a better choice more often than not. So why are we still wasting time, $ and energy driving across town every day to connect to our employer's network when we can just as easily do it from home?

Started working from home 9 months ago and I can't even begin to explain how much happier and healthier I am. For starters, I'm saving $180 per month (and this cost does not factor in oil changes, tires, breaks, transmission wear and tear, not to mention safety hazzards and stress...). I'm now able to sleep nearly 8 hours a night, as opposed to the 5 hours per night I was getting when I commuted. I have double the energy and enthusiasm than I did when I commuted, which has resulted in increased productivitiy at work. I'm also more likely to work later in the evening if needed since I'm no longer exhausted from the commute, and am now working more hours since I have more time to do so. I'm home when the kids get home from school and am able to spend much more time with them than before. The time I would previously spend talking about Game of Thrones at the water cooler is now spent throwing in a load of laundry, stacking the dishwasher, or fixing a doorknob. I can grocery shop during lunch...what does this all result in? Quality family time in the evening instead of telling the kids to go play video games or watch TV so I can catch up on the household chores. 

The pros FAR outweight the CONS when it comes to working from home. You win, your employer wins and your family wins. Now if we can just get the rest of these employers to move out of the 20th century :)

Re: Working from home has drastically improved my quality of ...

Telecommuting can definitely be a win-win-win situation, as it seems to be in your case. How can you argue with money savings, increased productivity, and more time for your family? But there are downsides to working at home exclusively. You can sometimes feel disconnected even though you're connected. Human face-time and vocal banter give you energy. Talking in person can lead to quick ideas and insights that are harder to come by using email and IM. Is all that worth the long drives, the potental sleep deprivation, the gas and tolls, and the day care and dog walking costs? Probably not. But WAH isn't all its cracked up to be. You have to be very disciplined and get out of your house for walks, jogs and lunches to keep from feeling isolated.

The best balance in my experience is a hybrid: 2 or 3 days in office, 2 or 3 days at home. You get the human connection and comraderie with the conveniences and money savings of telecommuting.

Funny cartoon by the way.

The Cloud is making telecommuting easier for everyone -- espe...

Managing people is always somewhat of a challenge, but even more so when your employees are in a remote location. As a full-time teleworker for the past 7+ years, and as someone who has managed remote workers, I can attest to the fact that the Cloud is making telecommuting easier and easier all the time. Tools like Skype, Dropbox, TeamViewer and others are invaluable to managers of telecommuters. There's even a Cloud-based software called MySammy ( that actually allows you to measure the productivity of telecommuters. Tools like these continue to make managing less and less of a challenge -- whether your workers are across the hall or across the country.

Re: The Cloud is making telecommuting easier for everyone -- ...

I'm with Tom. done all kinds of permutations of telecommuting and think a hybrid aproach is the best -- 2/3 days office/home ratio, depending how long of a commute you have. That said, I've been working at home full time for more than a year now and I don't miss the 3 hour RT commute one bit. I do wonder what my cat thinks as I mumble to myself throughout the day. 

Re: The Cloud is making telecommuting easier for everyone -- ...

> I'm with Tom.

Perhaps you meant Shane? In any event, I agree. I wouldn't want to be limited to working at home permanently, but it's nice to have the option to go into the office a few times a week. Plus one of the downsides of open offices is being obligated to move to a conference room to field the inevitable personal call.

Re: The Cloud is making telecommuting easier for everyone -- ...

>I am with Shane but I'm glad you agree, Tom. 

Re: The Cloud is making telecommuting easier for everyone -- ...

Yes Marilyn, commute distance is a factor. If your office is an hour away - twice a week would be ample. Any more than that and it's once a week, and is once-a-week even worth it?

Maybe I'm spoiled, but after being in hybrid or all-home work scenarios for a decade, a long commute 5 days a week seems like such a gruelling time-suck. With mobile tech and unified communications I think "work" will more and more become a thing you do and not a place you go. It's cheaper and more efficient for both company and employee.