Re: The Telecommuting Myth

Subject: Re: The Telecommuting Myth
From: Nina Panzica <panin -at- MINDSPRING -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 12:03:55 -0400

>> While there are certainly unscrupulous people who are less
>> productive [off-site] ... how do honest people fight the
>> perception that this is the rule rather than the exception?

The only thing I can think of to add to David Brown's answer to this
question is some detail about "communicating constantly." This phrase
doesn't just mean phone calls to me, although of course it's important you
be proactive in that area and not wait for your manager to check in on you.
Many employers really appreciate--particularly if they don't already have
something like this in place--a weekly report from you in which you list (1)
the activities you've performed or tasks accomplished that week (2) the
things that you hope to accomplish next week and (3) any problems or
difficulties you encountered or anticipate encountering. With this
narrative report I usually supply the client with an hourly time record in
table format which has, as column headers: Date, Time Spent on that day
doing a particular task, Code for the Task, Description of the Task. The
codes for the task appear in a legend under my table and cover specific
writing tasks such as manual layout or desktop publishing, editing,
indexing, research, meetings or interviews, graphics creation, review,
incorporating others' edits, etc. There are about 15-20 of these codes. In
the description column, I give brief but detailed notes about what part of
the document I was working on, subject of meeting and who it was with, what
specific subtasks within the general task I did, etc.

If you want to break into telecommuting or convince a client or employer to
let you telecommute, it's probably a good idea to draft record-keeping
documents like these and make them part of a handout you give to the
interviewer about how telecommuting works. Talk them through the handout,
describe how these documents are used by you and how they assist the
employer with understanding what you're doing at home, explain how they also
provide them with excellent project-management data, and then leave them
with the handout, in case they want to review it later with others making
the hiring decision.

Nina Panzica
Masterpiece Media, Inc.

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