Re: The Case Against Working at Home

Subject: Re: The Case Against Working at Home
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 12:17:21 -0500

Here is what I see as the main issues:

1. Yahoo has had serious management issues in that they have had a serious
lack of management over their remote workers.

2. Many telecommuters do not set up an actual home office nor do they view
working remotely as an extension of the workplace. They view it as time at
home whenever they feel like it. In my experience, this is the one- or
two-day telecommuters who are "rewarded" with work from home privileges. In
times I have tried to reach them, I never could. I guess they were walking
to the water cooler.

3. Yahoo's position on telecommuting will have an adverse impact on many
other companies' telecommuting policies, simply because Yahoo is so large.

4. Telecommuters have brought many of these issues on themselves, by not
taking the job more seriously.

5. Some companies have lots of internal problems that telecommuting only

Gene's comments on ambushing the developers is a common issue that doesn't
point to a solution but rather a major problem frequently ignored by
management. The purpose of the employee is to work FOR the company and to
PROVIDE the company with his value. You should never have to ambush an
employee to get information. Once requested, that employee should cooperate
fully. If not, there's the door. I've worked for companies like that. It
was a pleasure to work there.

Yet many companies never make the uncooperative engineer or programmer give
information to the rest of the team. They ignore their antics. They lay
blame on someone else. Typically if they do that, they eventually get to the
point the company has issues and they are laying the blame elsewhere, also.

If I email someone for information on the Illudium PU-36 Space Modulator
revision that he designed, I should not have to chase him down a hall,
tackle him, and drag him hogtied back to his cube for me to get it. One
email request, and it should be on its way to me in a reasonable amount of

A second email if he has failed to do that, just in case he missed the mail.

A third with his manager cc'd since now he has screwed up and his manager
should know.

If companies get rid of the princess mentality of some employees, and make
them actually work for the company, then it really doesn't matter where you

Yes, lots of good things come out of discussions in line at the cafeteria,
at the water cooler, standing in the galley waiting for coffee to finish
brewing, and so on. But Yahoo's problems, and many other companies'
problems, are not the lack of ideas at the water cooler but a lack of
management and lack of communications. Unfortunately, they are already
spinning this as the fault of the telecommuter (laying blame) and that will
reflect badly on all of us who work at home, in a real office setup, not the
kitchen table or on a snack tray sitting in bed.

In the last 13 years, I have worked 9 of those remotely in a real separate
room set up as an office. Two of the jobs had no one on the team in a real
company office, as everyone was remote. However, we had lots of real
communication. In all, we had weekly teleconferences with the team. In one,
the manager also had a weekly meeting, to be sure of where everything was
at. We all had access to the teleconferencing scheduling and could set up a
meeting whenever. Someone mentioned in one earlier message that typically
you only hear those in the room on such teleconferences. Well, don't let
them. Hold up your hand and demand to be heard.

The last one we had a lot of IM time. It was common to go three or four ways
on an IM conference. Almost as often, if the IM began to get too in depth,
we'd pop a teleconference number and talk via voice.

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