Wed
Feb 8 2006
08:07 am

Via Instapundit. telecommuting is having a pretty good run

But here's the bad news: Gartner expects the growth of telecommuting to slow, from 12 percent -- worldwide and in the United States -- in 2005 to 5.5 percent worldwide and 3.7 percent in the United States by 2008.

that gut feeling managers have that most people will slack off away from the office, without adult supervision.

Telecommuting and virtual offices, where would I be without the new technologies to make this possible? I would be in an office paying high rent, reducing the corporate bottom line. Besides being unhappy and uncomfortable.

My situation is not telecommuting so much as the virtual office. However, in my field (technology for a vertical market), many people telecommute. It is almost a necessity due to the demand for good people and national presence.

Good technology people are hard to come by, and yes they might slack off some. But, I have found that someone who is good at their job can do more in 2 hours than others will do in 8 hours. They are also almost always thinking about how to get the job done and done better, whether in the shower or in their pajamas at their PC. Several times I have heard barking or babies crying in the background. I really do not care as long as I know the person on the other end will deliver. Don't get me wrong, I really try to prevent my dog from interjecting into the conversations. She goes into the bedroom when I am on the phone.

Not everyone can be candidates for telecommuting and maybe that is what corporate America and the world are finding out. However, I think telecommuting will be in demand for a long time, it will just be targeted to a smaller base of talented workers.

PS. Speaking of on the decline, I sure am surprised to see InfoWorld still being published. I am glad I guess. We subscribed to InfoWorld for probably ten years. We discontinued our subscription because it didn't seem they were keeping up with technology trends. Technology trends is a whole other topic. Remember how everyone was dissing mainframes and "dumb" terminals. Now we have come full circle to network servers and "dumb" terminals. We must be flexible to keep up with the market.

 

Opinari's picture

The Need for Direct Interaction with Users

"Not everyone can be candidates for telecommuting and maybe that is what corporate America and the world are finding out."

For us as an IT group, it's not the fear of slacking that drives us away from telecommuters. It's the fact that we need people on-site that can interact with users directly. Communicating that to a telecommuter with a requirements document has simply proven to be a flawed process.

For piecemeal projects, telecommuting is a viable option. For example, if I ask a coder to write me a class that processes text and writes it to a generic data structure, that can be done outside of this shop. But implementing the class is another matter entirely. That's why I think there will always be a niche for telecommuters, at least in the IT field, but not anywhere near as broad a scope as it once was.

LCleavelin's picture

The Great Ethical Dilemma of Telecommuting

that gut feeling managers have that most people will slack off away from the office, without adult supervision.

I think it was Dilbert, when allowed to telecommute, who faced that ultimate ethical dilemma of the telecommuter: "If I work at home, do I owe the company a full 8 hours of work, or only the 2 hours I'd actually get done if I were in the office?"

:-)

bizgrrl's picture

Opinari said: For us as an

 

Opinari said: For us as an IT group, it's not the fear of slacking that drives us away from telecommuters. It's the fact that we need people on-site that can interact with users directly. Communicating that to a telecommuter with a requirements document has simply proven to be a flawed process.

I do not see how there is a need for a person to be on-site full-time because a "requirements document" needs to be communicated. Application software developement companies are not on-site at the user location when developing the products. They do visit and the do have specialists on staff. However, I do not think constant face-to-face access to the users or specialists is necessary for development.

Do you mean you need people to support your systems physically face-to-face? Applications or Network? Many companies are doing application support over the phone and using WebEx (a great tool). I agree at each location there can be one or more people to provide face-to-face support. However, depending on the company and the requirements, a lot of money can be saved by not requiring technically savy support people to be on-site. Over the phone and the Internet, one experienced person can support many people and locations.

 

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