Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Telecommuting Is Working

The Evil HR Lady has an interesting question from someone who works in a Real Office but whose manager is a telecommuter. It's interesting for a few reasons:

The manager does do something a little unexpected -- calls another exempt employee out for taking a flexible hour for a doctors appointment. During a conference call with other people.

But the employee's reaction focuses on the slipper-wearingness of his or her manager and how dare she call someone else out for exercising flexibility. S/he writes, "This from a woman who could be getting a pedicure at that very moment for all the rest of us knew. I always just assumed that during her WFH time, she was caring for her children, taking them to the doctor, picking them up from school, etc. It certainly did not bother me because it’s a new world, right? It’s all about results and not so much about bottom-time-in-the-chair, right? Well, apparently not for the daily schleppers."

Uh, no. Much like telecommuter proposals often wax rhapsodical about how great telecommuting will be for the shut-in's own lifestyle, kvetching about telecommuters often focuses on how they're not working.

Except we are. We work hard. We are real employees who sit in our offices eight, ten, or more hours a day doing what needs to be done.

So if you have a telecommuting manager, complain if he's not available by phone. Complain if she is a micromanager who calls and IMs twenty five times a day about that project. Complain if he can't seem to master using his headset. Complain if you actually hear children in his office during work hours and it makes it hard to hear him.

But don't complain because she wants to know where you are during the day. She can't see you leave for an hour during lunch and then come back, so communicating to her what *your* schedule is seems just as important as her communicating *her* schedule to you.

Don't blame it on telecommuting.

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