Thursday, August 5, 2010

Making the Case for Telecommuting: A Simple Approach

As Stella has mentioned, she's been traveling a lot to different on-site things, conferences, and other things. Everywhere I go, I have to explain to people how it is that I work for an institution in upstate New York but live in Albuquerque, and everyone I explain it to asks immediately, "How did you manage that?"

I try to counter by asking them: do you ever log in from home on Saturday to do a quick task?

If the answer is "Yes," then you have a fundamental case for experimenting with telecommuting at least some of the time. Because dig it: if you can log in from home on your time, why can't you do the same thing on their time and be just as effective? If that kind of access is good enough for an emergency, then it should be good enough for a regular work day as well.

I just don't understand what is hard about this. If you're feverishly working in the evenings and weekends on stuff when you're on business travel, or god forbid working while on vacation, you should be able to extend this style of working to the regular work day as well. It's a benefit that costs the employer very little -- once they've put in place the basic infrastructure you need to have safe remote access to systems, it's really pretty easy to just let people use it all the time.

So let them. And you, the employees: Ask For It At Work.

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