Thursday, May 29, 2008

Telecommuting Leads to 3-Week Suspension for Manager

This article from the Boston Herald reports that the chief of the department of public works has been suspended for three weeks for allowing an IT employee to telecommute. I find this disturbing on several levels.

First, the chief of a major city agency should have been aware that union contracts forbade telecommuting. That's a basic HR thing that he should have known or been made aware of by the HR people. By the way, if you're a manager and you're considering starting a telecommuting program, do speak with HR to make sure that there aren't (admittedly stupid) rules like this in existence.

More troubling, however, is the tone of the comments on this article. I leave you to read them yourselves, gentle readers. They're the typical angry-guy-style comments, but it is just puzzling to me how really angry people are to find out that an IT staff member might be working from afar. Uh, dudes, it's IT. It's all done on computers and networks, friends. It does not matter if you get on the network in a cube somewhere, or in Venezuela. In this case, it's the Venezuela thing that may be causing the ire (what with all the Chavez stuff, I guess).

I think it's significant for city employees to live and contribute to the cities where they live, but honestly you would think that Venezuela would have more to be mad about. After all, they have a highly-skilled IT person not contributing to her local economy and instead shipping all her brain power overseas.

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