Re: Telecommuting

Subject: Re: Telecommuting
From: Daniel P Read <danielread -at- JUNO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 17:17:50 EST


>I have not personally telecommuted, but have been in the position of
>being the direct supervisor of someone who was working in a "virtual
>office" for our company that was five hours drive away. I was also in a
>position of having to sell the benefits of this arrangement to the CEO
>and President of the company, who were against it.

>They had the obvious concerns:

> - can we trust him to be working on our stuff an not someone
>else's (he was a full-time, W2 employee)?
> - what about the cost of phone bills, mail, etc.?
> - what about his equipment? will we be expected to purchase and
>maintain it?
> - what about the security of the work he will be doing? will he
>be doing tape backups? is his house protected against the theft of his
>computer? will he maintain an off-site backup? how can we be sure that
>the work he does is properly integrated into our daily change control?
>what happens when the relationship is over? are we going to have a lot
>of hassles getting our work from him then?

>The arrangement ended up working out well, I think,


>>How did you successfully answer those concerns of the PTB?

>>That may be the key to my getting the next assignment to work in my
>>and slippers!

Hard to say exactly. Some of the concerns were raised after the
arrangement was already finalized. The first obstacle was getting the
managers to even consider the idea. They had a preconceived idea (based
in past experience and/or advice, I'm sure) that the "virtual office" was
just a bad idea. In the end, there were two major contributing factors
to the managers' going along with the idea:

1) This particular person's ability to sell himself. He had
successfully worked in a virtual office in past positions, knew the
requirements of the job we had, and was smart enough and confident enough
to sell the idea, always answering objections concretely: Q:"What about
security on your site?" A:"Well, I have a tape backup that I run every
night, with rotating tapes for each day of the week, plus one weekly tape
that is kept in a fire safe. Plus, I'm sure that you have change control
procedures established that I will be able to make entries in on a daily
basis." Because he had an answer like this to every objection, he "got
the sale."

2) My openness to the idea of the virtual office. I was not as
motivated to "sell" the idea as the potential employee himself, but I was
most definitely open to it, and really wanted to work with this
particular programmer.

I saw a book in the book store last night that looked like it would
prepare someone to answer these objections. It was called _The Virtual
Office Handbook_. It appeared to be aimed at the employee, not the
employer, but I could not say for sure. Might be worth checking out. I
don't remember the author, but any book store should be able to look it
up for you.

Daniel Read
danielread -at- juno -dot- com

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