telecommuting - overdue summary - long

Subject: telecommuting - overdue summary - long
From: Cathe Bedard <cbbedard -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 09:00:11 -0800 (PST)

Hi, All!

Last August I requested information about
telecommuting. Responses drifted in for more than a
month, and I didn?t make the move until November. To
recap, I was moving 150 miles away from my job and my
company was interested in my telecommuting 2 or 3 days
each week. I had asked the company for a computer,
software, printer, phone connections, network access,
and transportation and lodging costs. Most important
to me, I wanted to remain a full-time regular employee
in terms of benefits, ESOP participation, etc. I
wanted help from the list to develop ?fall back?
negotiating positions based on the experiences of
others and on any documentation you could recommend. I
promised to summarize in a week, and I blew it. Sorry.

The responses varied quite a bit. There was not a
pattern. It seems that the telecommuters who responded
to me have little in common, so a summary isn?t very
practical. Some told me I was asking for too much, but
many sent encouragement and suggestions. Here are the
*Document why they will save money by keeping you as a
telecommuter instead of hiring a replacement.
*After you get set up, take photos of your office and
post them on the bulletin board so your coworkers see
that you?re not just sitting on your couch in front of
the TV, using a laptop.
*If you are absorbing the costs and the company still
is hesitant, propose a limited trial period.
*If you are close enough, arrange to put in an
appearance at least once a quarter so maintain old
relationships and develop new ones.
*Stay in phone contact with people you normally would
see during the day, but be task oriented so you are
not perceived as wasting time or money.
*If it is easier and you can afford it, pay for phone
lines and other items up front and get reimbursed.
*Have the company put the phone in your name; it is
cheaper than a phone in the company?s name.
*Use your own equipment to start, so there is time to
include your new needs in the next company budget.
*Don?t use any of your own equipment; the company
equipment will be under a service contract and will be
a write-off for your company.

I was given three relevant sites. These two still work
and are worth checking out.

Here?s what happened with me. I got almost everything
I asked for, and a little more or a little less ?
depending on your point of view. I only go to the
office for 2 or 3 days every other week or so, about
half as much as we originally planned. I drive my car
and absorb the transportation cost and the driving
time, but the company pays for my hotel. I use my fax
machine and my fax phone line; I could get reimbursed
for the brief calls, but I don?t mind paying for them.
I use the company?s phone line for connecting to the
network and any work-related calls I make. I use my
own internet service provider; I would have it anyway,
and it seems pointless for the company to pay for an
additional ISP. The company provides the computer,
printer, and APC/ups as well as software: Word, Excel,
PowerPoint, QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Illustrator, and
PageMaker. I proof a lot of graphics in addition to
writing, and we got Acrobat Distiller so that I can
mark up graphics readily without having to reduce them
to faxable size.

I call my boss each morning when I?m at home to get my
assignment for the day instead of participating in the
daily 5-minute on-site morning orientation meeting. I
log on to the company?s network at least four times a
day to get or send e-mail and to access needed files.
I fax my timecard to the office at the end of the day.
I pick up supplies when I?m at the office and get
reimbursed for any needed emergency purchases,
including toner for my fax machine. I use company time
and the company FedEx account to send manuscripts,
blueprints, and similar things back to the office and
get reimbursed for the travel to and from the FedEx
office. I'm included in committee meetings by phone if
the meetings can't be scheduled around my office
trips. I get video tapes of the company's quarterly
meetings and am considered a regular, full-time

I?m ending my fourth month of telecommuting and it is
working out very well. I work the same hours as
everyone else in my group, either 8-, 10-, or 12-hour
days, depending on the deadlines, and generally take
lunch and breaks at the same time I always did. The
first two weeks were tough; I didn't realize how much
I would miss peripheral social interactions.

Thanks to all of you who provided information and
support for me. Please don?t hesitate to contact me
directly if you?d like more information about my
telecommuting experience.

Cathe Bedard
Port Huron, MI
cbbedard -at- yahoo -dot- com

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