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Telecommuting Is Good For You
Lower stress, higher morale, same performance
by Karl Bode 05:42PM Tuesday Nov 20 2007
Psychologists studied 20 years of research on "flexible work arrangements" and not too surprisingly found that telecommuting results in higher morale and job satisfaction and lower employee stress and turnover. According to an article published in the current Journal of Applied Psychology, allowing workers to telecommute is a win-win deal for both employer and employee. From the press release:
quote:
"Our results show that telecommuting has an overall beneficial effect because the arrangement provides employees with more control over how they do their work," said lead author Ravi S. Gajendran. "Autonomy is a major factor in worker satisfaction and this rings true in our analysis. We found that telecommuters reported more job satisfaction, less motivation to leave the company, less stress, improved work-family balance, and higher performance ratings by supervisors."
The full article is available here (pdf), and notes that 45 million Americans telecommuted in 2006, up from 41 million in 2003. Meanwhile AT&T, which Network World says was once a poster-child for telecommuting, is pulling many employees back to the office after the merger with BellSouth.

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FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

2 edits

SBC won the merger battle of top mgt positions

SBC never was a big telecommuting proponent and in all the mergers it was SBC that won all the key top mgt posts. So it isn't surprising that AT&T now is retrenching on telecommuting. The company is called AT&T, but it really was SBC that bought all the other companies that now make up the current AT&T.

Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21

Re: SBC won the merger battle of top mgt positions

They probably figure (correctly) that they can accomplish as much with half the staff, post-reorg. Most telecommuters suck.
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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: SBC won the merger battle of top mgt positions

You must be a telecommuter then...
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Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Not at my company

Telecommuting is not allowed. We have to come to work, even in a blizzard, and work in a windowless building.

south1178
Premium
join:2001-12-17
Cleveland, OH

Re: Not at my company

We can at my company. I am hardly ever in the office.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Not at my company

I've been in the offices ~ 5 weeks in 4 years.

Upside: More flexible hours, save on gas, car wear. More family time, less wasted time on the road (Los Angeles is traffic hell).
Downside: Longer work hours (~10 hours/day is typical + paged off hours). Hard to keep track of management (i.e. not great for moving up the food chain), easier to be laid off if you don't make yourself extremely useful. Local annoyances (power/telco outages, house phone, neighbors, door bell, kids, etc.

Its a mixed bag, depending on the work you do.
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ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Not at my company

Yeah, it is easy to be forgotten about if you're not in the office and easier to be laid off. Same if you're in one city and boss is in another.

I have a nice large home office in my residence but I can't get anything done. Too many distractions at home and I'm the sole occupant I think the only way I would get work done at home is if I put up cubicle walls, get a cubicle desk, cabinets and fluorescent overhead lighting to replicate the office.

If I have to catch up on things, I'll come in on a weekend afternoon when no one is in and I'll fly through the work. I can get so much done without the noises of the people, phone, etc.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Not at my company

Hehe - I know exactly what you mean.
I've hooked up HDX101, and work out of my backyard gazebo 90% of the time - no house phone, no doorbell, no TV, no radio, etc.
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N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
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Philly burbs
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I wouldn't want to telecommute.

I prefer to deal with the criminals outside my home......
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n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY
My itsy bitsy teeny weeny minuscule excuse for a company has allowed telecommuting for many years but it has really been a vehicle for putting in tons of overtime. I would enjoy telecommuting more if I had the option for defined hours but being "exempt" means no such thing as "overtime". At this point I would only be interested in telecommuting on those days when the weather (ie. snow) is so bad that a physical commute is just too treacherous and taking a vacation day is not practical or desired.
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Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Field techs like myself have the same predicament as well, rain or shine.

I almost feel like a postal worker.

banditws6
Shrinking Time and Distance
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Frisco, TX
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Seen both sides of the fence...

I've worked as a telecommuter for about two and a half years now and have definitely reaped the benefits of higher morale and job satisfaction. There are days where I get up at 10 a.m. and work till midnight, but I do it because I'm motivated and believe in the company. And that motivation partially stems from the trust the management has placed in me to do my job without constantly being under some suit's thumb. Besides, I always know there will be other days when we'll take the afternoon off and go play video games online against each other -- it's that kind of workplace.

At the same time, telecommuting doesn't work for everyone. Or should I say, not every employee works effectively as a telecommuter. The employee has to be an inherently responsible person and show the company that they can be trusted to manage their own time and get things done.

Overall though, I'm much happier with my job and feel personally invested in the work I'm doing.

The boss at the company I used to work for was of a totally opposite mind about telecommuting. He was paranoid, wanted to micromanage everybody. It got worse after I quit. Now when I visit my old colleagues from that job, the ones who are still working there, they all look like the life has gone out of them. Total Initech situation.
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grouchy951

join:2000-09-23
Chicago, IL

cisco is moving away from telecommuting

cisco has recently been moving to the butt in seat approach except for a few specific cases.

Just strange for companies that promote communications and work and play from anywhere also requiring physical presence.
MightyPez

join:2002-05-01
Saint Paul, MN

Works for us

My company has 3 offices across 2 states and telecommuting is a must. Most work is done through terminal services by the employees. The company expects people to be in the office as much as possible, but they encourage people that are sick or can't make it for whatever reason to dial in from home.

When some power hungry middle manager said they couldn't do that anymore, the CEO stepped in and said, "Of course they can! They are still making me money!"

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Works for us

said by MightyPez:

When some power hungry middle manager said they couldn't do that anymore, the CEO stepped in and said, "Of course they can! They are still making me money!"
Sounds like you actually have a smart CEO.
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tim_k
Buttons, Bows, Beamer, Shadow, Kasey
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Stewartstown, PA
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not us

VZ won't allow union peons to telecommute even though my job is well suited for it. After they moved our location to "traffic hell", a lot of people have taken off for stress.
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bky
moof moof
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join:2002-07-05
San Francisco, CA

it's a win-win-win

A win for the employer, a win for the employee, and a win for the rest of us by removing one more car from the jammed rush-hour freeways.

Cjaiceman
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Parker, CO
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Re: it's a win-win-win

said by bky:

A win for the employer, a win for the employee, and a win for the rest of us by removing one more car from the jammed rush-hour freeways.
I'm surprised no one has said this yet, but I will say it.

Building on that comment you can also add less fuel used, thus more money in the employee's pocket, less miles on the car, and less pollution all around (I'm not trying to be a tree hugging hippie, but I like having to spend less of fuel than a regular commuter does).

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: it's a win-win-win

More Americans need to realize that "Going Green" doesn't mean you're some tree hugger, but that IT SAVES YOU MONEY. IE Going Green can be as American as Apple Pie... I'm all for cutting down on emissions and electricity and gas usage etc because it's saving me money!
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Methadras

join:2004-05-26
Spring Valley, CA

Re: it's a win-win-win

said by KrK:

More Americans need to realize that "Going Green" doesn't mean you're some tree hugger, but that IT SAVES YOU MONEY. IE Going Green can be as American as Apple Pie... I'm all for cutting down on emissions and electricity and gas usage etc because it's saving me money!
going green is nothing more than a reformulated phrase for being a conservationist... conserving what you have and being as optimal and as efficient as possible is the very nature of conservancy... that isn't being green, it's being smart... being or going green is marketing hype...

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
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Tulsa, OK

1 edit

Re: it's a win-win-win

Well said, and exactly so. Why burn money (and waste resources) un-necessarily. Save your own money, conserve resources, help yourself AND everyone else out too.

Camelot One
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Greenwood, IN
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said by KrK:

More Americans need to realize that "Going Green" doesn't mean you're some tree hugger, but that IT SAVES YOU MONEY. IE Going Green can be as American as Apple Pie... I'm all for cutting down on emissions and electricity and gas usage etc because it's saving me money!
Thats kinda been the unmarketed plan the past several years. Even the dumbest politician knows you can't get funding for alternative fuel research or get manufacturers to pump tons of money into developing hybrids, when gas is a buck a gallon. Until the sky rains fire, most American's aren't going to give a crap about getting 14mpg in their bigger-than-a-bus SUV. But hit their wallets, and suddenly hybrids have a 6 month waiting list.
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KA3SGM
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Re: it's a win-win-win

said by Camelot One:

said by KrK:

More Americans need to realize that "Going Green" doesn't mean you're some tree hugger, but that IT SAVES YOU MONEY. IE Going Green can be as American as Apple Pie... I'm all for cutting down on emissions and electricity and gas usage etc because it's saving me money!
Thats kinda been the unmarketed plan the past several years. Even the dumbest politician knows you can't get funding for alternative fuel research or get manufacturers to pump tons of money into developing hybrids, when gas is a buck a gallon. Until the sky rains fire, most American's aren't going to give a crap about getting 14mpg in their bigger-than-a-bus SUV. But hit their wallets, and suddenly hybrids have a 6 month waiting list.
The ability to telecommute is awesome in fuel savings, but I don't usually drive the Full Size SUV for work, but my V8 powered, Mid-Sized Sport Sedan with over 300HP. still gets only 15MPG, even when I drive it conservatively.

Who drives a 300+Hp car conservatively anyway..
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BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
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said by bky:

A win for the employer, a win for the employee, and a win for the rest of us by removing one more car from the jammed rush-hour freeways.
Tell me about it. I work an over nite shift , 4 of em to be exact , and the traffic in the morning can take me up to 2 hours to get home and it's only 30 miles.

What kills me is my job is easily done with a softphone voip and a vpn connection with mapped drives. But the company don't want that, because we don't have access to all the servers from the vpn. I keep saying it looks like some one has a poorly configured VPN and they just laugh and say but it wont change any time soon.
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Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
If the average commuter telecommuted just 40% of the time that they spend at work it would also be good for national security.

MrMoody
Free range slave
Premium
join:2002-09-03
Smithfield, NC

Cheaper too

It's much cheaper too; office space is tremendously expensive.

S_engineer
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Chicago, IL

Re: Cheaper too

True, but if you don't have an office space, you don't appear to be established. And that will push away alot of potential business!
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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: Cheaper too

said by S_engineer:

True, but if you don't have an office space, you don't appear to be established. And that will push away alot of potential business!
That is because everyone is still in the dark ages in their mindsets. That is also why countries like India are taking over. There have been articles floating around about those that work from home doing tutoring, call center work and many other things over there. Moms with kids can get jobs and stay at home with the kids while still being productive. Unfortunately the US is becoming non-innovative and non-forward thinking because companies are still backward thinking and profit greedy.
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fatmanskinny
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Wandering
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I occassionally telecommute

I have a boss that is pretty flexible. My position requires me to be in the office. However, if I have a function or something going on like an event at my daughter's day care, he would let me work from home so I could attend.

He has the ability to remotely tap into our machines via VPN but I believe we have earned his trust by our hard work and he doesn't think twice about sensible requests to occassionally work from home.
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viperpa33s
Why Me?
Premium
join:2002-12-20
Bradenton, FL

Telecommuting is a good thing

I have never telecommuted until I got my new job and thinks it's great. I work from home a couple of days a week. It's great not having to deal with rush hour traffic or the frustration being at work. Your able to relax and do your job without all the interruptions.

Some jobs you wouldn't be able to telecommute but a lot of jobs you could. More companies should promote telecommuting.
reelbigfish

join:2002-06-06
Boston, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Telecommuting is a good thing

I am a big proponent of this. I like going into the office a couple days a week, but when my turn in the on call rotation rolls around, I want to work from home every day I'm on call. Mainly because I get paged at all hours of the night and if I went to the office I wouldn't be able to nap when I needed it and would be easily working 12+ hours a day for 7 days straight. Working from home allows me to do this without as much stress and I can still do things around the house when I have time. My boss doesn't mind, however his boss does. He wants everyone in the office for the team aspect. Funny thing is....he works from home every day as his office is in a place we don't have an office. Gotta love the irony.

JTRockville
Data Ho
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join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD

I've been telecommuting full time for almost 11 years!

Once or twice a year, sometimes less, I "go to" work, otherwise I work remotely. Since we have offices all over the globe, I can spread my work day out and still be available to meet with people in lots of different time zones.

It's worked out great for me.
ctggzg
Premium
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USA
kudos:2

Autonomy?

"Autonomy is a major factor in worker satisfaction and this rings true in our analysis."

Autotonomy = screwing around?

bent
and Inga
Premium
join:2004-10-04
Loveland, CO

Re: Autonomy?

said by ctggzg:

"Autonomy is a major factor in worker satisfaction and this rings true in our analysis."

Autotonomy = screwing around?
No, autonomy is allowing professionals to act like professionals, on their own terms, thereby getting more productivity out of them.
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Zaber
When all are gone, there shall be none

join:2000-06-08
Cleveland, OH

Re: Autonomy?

That is a concept that many "managers" do not understand. Here the CEO believes that if you are not in the office, in a suit you are not working.
mikenolan7
Premium
join:2005-06-07
Torrance, CA

Good for Everyone

There are even more unseen benefits:

I worked in a job with the phone ringing non-stop, and people sitting outside my office, waiting to get in when the ones in there were finished. When I had important deadlines to meet, I would tell my Admin that I was going home so I could get some work done. When I needed time to think, or do some analysis or writing, that was the only way I could get time to concentrate.

Another example: I had a very valuable employee, suffer kidney failure. Well after he had "recovered" he still needed to spend several hours a day, twice a week, at the hospital hooked up to a dialysis machine. He was coming back to work and asked me if I could arrange flexible hours to accommodate the hospital's schedules - they have limited equipment. I asked if he would be able to work while on the dialysis machine. He said yes, so I made arrangements to have those hours count towards his workweek, so he didn't have to waste his off hours stuck in the hospital. Didn't cost me a thing - I knew he would work for that time. A few simple gestures like that can help build a very loyal workforce.

Jafo232
You Can't Spell Democrat Without Rat.
Premium
join:2002-10-17
Boonville, NY

Re: Good for Everyone

Agreed..

Telecommuting for a few years now. I really see no downside. I work harder, get more done, and it keeps one parent in the house eliminating the latch key for the kids. The savings in day care alone is like a huge raise.

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tcp1
Premium
join:2000-04-17
Herndon, VA

1 recommendation

Re: Good for Everyone

As far as everywhere I've worked, the only people I've seen who are against telecommuting are the meddling micromanaging types who never trust anybody - and this is usually a reflection on the manager, not their subordinates. The paranoid middle managers who usually are the most clueless in their own jobs are often the ones who refuse to trust someone to do their job correctly.

It also goes to say that if a manager cannot trust his or her professional employees to handle ther time responsibly, then didn't that manager make a mistake hiring them in the first place?

I currently work in government contracting, and that's a tough call as far as telecommuting goes. The smarter, more up-to-date contractors absolutely understand the benefits of telecommuting; however when you work with the gov't and military, many clients want to "see the troops at the crack of dawn", if for nothing but the very reassurance that they're there. They don't like flex time, either.. You're a morning person to military clients, or you don't belong there. Kind of silly, really.

(Of course, you can't telecommute to do classified work, but that's another issue.)

I've never heard a really good argument against telecommuting. It usually comes back to "well, if you give people too much freedom, they'll screw around." We're talking about adults here, for the most part. If you give them freedom and they screw around, you didn't hire well, or they have good reason to screw around once they're out from under your magnifying glass. If you're not treating your employees well, that'll manifest itself in other ways - in the office or out.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Depends on the situation

When I moved up to Albany to be near my fiance (now wife), I was working for Winmag.com. I made arrangements with them to set up a home office in my apartment and work from home. It wound up working nicely. I didn't have to get up extremely early anymore since my "commute" to work was a two minute lazy stroll to the next room. I would typically sign in at about 8am, get some work done, take a quick break at around 10am to shower/get dressed/etc, and then work until 4 or 5.

I'd say that I was just as productive with that setup as I was in the office. Unfortunately, Winmag.com was shut down a few months later and I got another job where I had to be in the office from 8-4:30. My boss is nice and lets me telecommute sometimes when I can't get in. For example, if there's a blizzard out and the roads haven't been plowed yet. I'll do some work in the morning, shovel the snow, and then drive in.

I've found, however, that my telecommuting productivity isn't as good as my office productivity now. I think the reason for this is that my family life has grown such that there are more distractions at home. At Winmag, my fiance-at-the-time would be out in classes nearly all day, so I would have the apartment to myself. Now, my wife is at home with our two kids (4 years and 6 months). It's so easy to take "just 2 minutes" to help her with one thing. And "only a minute" to help my son with something else. But add up all of those minutes and you don't get any work done.

Still, this is a case-by-case situation. If a manager believes that an employee could do their job via telecommuting and the employee wants to do this, then the manager could allow the employee to do one day a week telecommuting. The manager could monitor the employee's productivity and either increase or decrease the telecommuting time depending on how productive the employee is.

booticon

join:2007-07-31
East Lyme, CT

Oh yes.

I would love to work from home so I could do so sans pants.

•••
bignate4

join:2005-12-05
Austin, TX

remote working

i work for AT&T(SBC side).

as an employee telecommuting always seems to sound good but my former area manager said something to me that really makes sense...

"if you can do your work from home then someone else can do that work from india."

you really dont want to prove to the company that your work can be done remotely...

•••

buckingham
Buckingham Pa
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join:2005-07-17
Buckingham, PA
Reviews:
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Telecommuting is how I survive....

I have been telecommuting for over 10 years now. I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't get any work done in an office environment...too many distractions, believe it or not. The company has also bagged a lot of expensive real estate, especially for sales role functions simply because it doesn't make sense to have it. If folks are doing their jobs, they are in front of customers or on the phone with customers. And they are also being held to their quotas...non-performance means you're gone.

I sometime joke with folks that my morning commute decision is "back stairs or front" on those days I'm not traveling.