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

Subject: Re: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do )
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 20:06:03 -0500

I attribute that to poor management. If an on-site worker was to disappear from their desk or workstation for hours on end, the manager would have a talk with them. Yet, many never check on their telecommuting workers. One place I worked used an instant messaging system that showed if you were on active or not, as the activity of the mouse or keyboard would show you there or away. Of course, if you were reading a printed document, the computer would idle enough to show you away. Still, it wouldn't be likely your computer to be idle an hour or two while reading like it would be if you were out running to the mall shopping or having a three hour lunch with friends or something similar. Even doing other things, most still bump the mouse to check email.

And a simple IM to you would answer that. "Hey, how are you doing with that xxxx project?"

But I have seen a lot of different managers in a lot of different companies over the years, and an unfortunately large number manage by looking down an aisle to see if you are there, and nothing more. So a lot of on-site workers actually spend less time working on company projects than you would think. Just go look at many of the forums on the Internet. Are all these people working the night shift?

Still, I knew a guy who beat a system like that years ago. He taped a pager to the mouse, then paged the pager. Every five minutes, the pager would vibrate and activate the mouse. His computer at work showed him on all night long one night while he was home. He did it just because there was a bet he couldn't beat it.

I worked with one guy who worked a flex schedule of 5:30 am to 1 pm and took an hour lunch. He did it for 3 years. You tell me who was managing him.

The reality is workers will find ways to beat the system, but it can be reliable enough with a little common sense to make it work. I had one job that every day at 3, I had to leave for about 45 minutes to pick up the kids at school. Of course, my manager knew because I told her, and she saw I worked from around 8:30 am to 6 pm every day, an occasionally longer when having meetings with the team in India. I didn't get lunch at noon as typically there were meetings between 11 and 2. And I only once missed a deadline, due to the team two days before the release getting into an argument among themselves on what the software really did, which conflicted with what they had previously told me, so my manager decided to freeze our release of the doc until we had correct information from the team.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: Telecommuting ( was: Do as I say, not as I do )

... 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

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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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