Subject: Telecommuting
From: Suzette Leeming <techwriter -at- techemail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: 26 Jan 2001 05:34:05 -0800


If you already have a full time job, start there. Try to convince your company to start a telecommuting trial. Some of the states (i.e. Maryland) actually give tax incentives to companies that implement a telecommuting policy.

Be prepared to draw up a proposal - for example, how will the work be distributed, edited, reviewed, etc. Cover things like communications, who pays for what equipment, software, etc. Also list the pros and cons, for example increased productivity, better employee retention, less time lost to sickness, lower office costs (since you're not occupying space in their offices), electricity, etc.

There actually was a large project that took place in Silicon Valley a few years ago, with some of the largest companies. They put together a Telecommuting Guide for companies. If I find the link, I'll send it to you.

Incidentally, I worked for my present company for 2-1/2 years. Last summer I was successful at convincing them to implement a trial (for my position only - lone techwriter). I turned in the project ahead of schedule, and was obviously so happy, that in November they changed my status. I am now working from home officially until the end of April. In reality, my manager feels that this will be a permanent arrangement - and that I will not return to the office. I go in for 1/2 day a week for reviews, etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is start with the people who are already familiar with your work. Once you have worked from home, it is easier to convince other companies to hire you as a telecommuter (although, once you're working from home, why would you change companies?) Be prepared to be focused and productive - the children and laundry are not what you are getting paid to watch.

If you have any questions, just shout.

Suzette Leeming
Technical Writer
Markham, Ontario

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