RE: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do )

Subject: RE: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do )
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 10:59:14 -0500

We have long had "core hours" in the middle of the day, during which we are supposed to be in the office - if we are in the office - allowing considerable flex-time on either side of that 10:00 - to - 3:30 core. That was actually stated back when most employees worked from the office, and was intended to allow a solid block of mid-day time during which anyone could call a meeting and reasonably expect attendance. Employees had the flexibility to deposit and retrieve kids from school/day-care, move their entire schedules to better coincide with distant co-workers in other timezones, or just generally enjoy some freedom and flexibility.

These days, I could be on the bus and attending a meeting via my smartphone and maybe Citrix. In-office attendance is relatively unimportant.

Office Communicator shows other employees (by status icon) when we are online and available, and I, and various other folks in North America, regularly ask each other what in heck we are doing working past midnight. Sometimes you just get on a roll... Other times, you want to chat with somebody in India or Australia, due to a project you might have in common. The next morning you get to sleep late, 'cuz there's no commute. Works out very well

Occasionally, I might be at the dentist or doctor or vet during the middle of the day, when appointment slots are much more plentiful than slots in the early morning and after 5pm, so I can get in to see those professionals weeks sooner than folks who still need to be picky about time-of-day. And I don't eat a vacation day.

If there's a cold or flu or Norovirus going around the office, I'm less likely to get it, and if I do catch something, I'm far less likely to spread it to cow-orkers than in previous years, when I was constantly guilty of "presenteeism" - I used to go years without using a sick-day, including times when I probably should have. Lately, it's not an issue.

Being at home a lot means I get to spell my wife (whose business can take her out to meetings and events), keeping an eye on the ancient mother-in-law, who lives with us, and who has reached the "I've fallen and can't get up" stage.

Because of this arrangement, we can now get by with a single motor vehicle, despite living in the suburbs. Big savings, there.

I also get to walk while working - I'm on my makeshift "treadmill desk" right now, doing 1.2 mph. That's not possible at the office.
If I stumble and get sucked into the treadmill, I think my homeowner's insurance might be more applicable than workman's comp.
If I get scratched while evicting the cat from "her" spot on my keyboard, not sure how that'd be categorized.

Anyway, our local honchos (I'm in Canada) and our American owners seem to have satisfied themselves that liability/insurability is not an issue to deter them from moving more-and-more toward telecommuting as a primary work mode. We're run by some pretty bright people. I doubt they'd have overlooked that concern, if it was a concern.

If I was a tester, I might still need to spend most of my time at the office. As a TW, I'm not as constrained. I just need to visit once-in-a-while to reconfigure equipment. As we get more and more virtual and automated, there will be less need for either TWs or testers to be physically present at the office/lab, much of the time. Similarly for architects, developers, compliance people, ... Probably the guys in the hardware lab will have the place to themselves, soon. And one tech designated to keep the software lab running for all the remote developers and testers ... and TWs. :-)

For years and years, our sales reps and biz-dev and sales-eng people have worked from home offices or on-the-road. Technology and business conditions are now bringing the rest of us to that model. It shouldn't be an issue except for employees who consider the office to be a refuge from the home situation. :-)



-----Original Message-----
From: Gene Kim-Eng
Sent: February-21-13 4:04 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do )

Workers Comp is a potential head scratcher, for example if a telecommuting worker is driving between the home work location and the office for a can't-miss meeting and is in an accident, is that an OTJ injury.

The most common reason why companies that allow telecommuting stop doing it is telecommuting workers not being where they're supposed to be during working hours. A lot of workers don't seem to get that telecommuting is not the same as being an independent contractor, and that they don't get to make their own hours and are expected to be at their work location during working hours even if that location is off-site in their home.

Gene Kim-Eng


On 2/21/2013 10:24 AM, Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com wrote:
> We were told that the reason my company discontinued telecommuting (except for a very few) was because their insurance wouldn't cover employees working from home, BUT they'd still be liable to be sued by a telecommuting employee or a visitor to the employee's home. This is California, and that info was from years ago. But I've never run across anything official on the subject.


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References:
RE: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do ): From: Brian.Henderson
Re: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do ): From: Gene Kim-Eng

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