Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Telecommuting Isn't All Sunshine and Roses

Well for me in the spring and early summer it is, but hey, it's December here. People, my yard is just as grey and dispirited as yours is, trust me. The snow that lurks in the shadow of the wall won't melt for some time, and lawn is, well, most unlawnlike. It's much more strawlike. That said, telecommuting is still pretty awesome, even if I don't yet have a bevy of roses greeting my eyes when the sun comes up each morning.

There are some drawbacks however. This post from Network World does a good job of enumerating them. All seventeen of them. I'd like to add a few of my own:

- The propensity of the network, webcam, teleconference, VPN or other critical technical link in the chain to punk out just when I need it most. You know, just as the meeting starts, or when you need to post something to a remote server right now and not a moment later. That bums me out.

- The lack of a transition at the end of the day. You have to take special care to make sure you don't go directly from work to taking care of kids. I've engineered a faux commute for myself by making my after work transition a go to the gym time for myself. I blow off a little steam, keep myself in the same size pants, and hopefully I feel a little calmer by the time I pick up the kids and start that portion of my day.

- The sameness of the days. Lately I've been dealing with this by getting more of my colleagues into using the IM tools I favor so that I can pop in on them and have a quick chat about work and non-work stuff. I'm getting to know people a bit better and so this is a good way to solidify those relationships. It does take some discipline not to pop that Skype window every time the stuff I'm working with online is slow to respond, but those kinds of interactions can break up an otherwise too quiet day.


aullman said...

You make a good point about starting and ending your work day. This issue and other 'social' issues have to be dealt with in order to successfully work from home.

It is because of these issues that I created a web site Remote Office Centers.

This web site promotes and lists ROCs, which lease individual offices, internet and phone systems to workers from different companies in shared centers located around the city and suburbs.

Office provide structure and social contact with are often missing when you work from home. For some people, these are very important issues that are hard to overcome when working from home.

Stella Commute said...

Thanks for reading and writing -- I checked out the site, and the rates for meeting rooms by the hour seem pretty reasonable. For telecommuters who need to meet with clients in person and don't want the dogs to jump on them, this is a great option.