Re: The Telecommuting myth

Subject: Re: The Telecommuting myth
From: Joe Schrengohst <jschreng -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 15:53:58 -0700


Consider yourself "politely flamed." I'm a contractor for a leading
communications equipment manufacturer. The client' managers
encourage me to work at home (in fact that's where I am right now).
Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm a "known quantity" with them
(they know I will get the job done right), but I never, ever charge the
client for "unproductive time" (such as "flaming" you). If anything it's
the opposite, I put in a lot of "extra effort" (hours) that they will never
see on an invoice (I'd just have to pass it along to the IRS anyway).

A few years ago I made a presentation at the STC convention in NYC
about "how to hire and evaluate contractors." If I can locate it I'll send
you a copy; however, one of the basic things to do with "new" contractors
is set up a small but well-defined piece of work and see how long it takes
the contractor to accomplish the task. (You could just as easily do this
for work done "off-site.") Either way, it should give you a sense of whether
you've hired a "keeper" or not.

The "hottest" tip I can give you is that a "better than good" manager does
not ascribe his/her own abilities (or lack thereof) to the people they manage.
Just because you are "more productive in the office" doesn't necessarily
mean that Joe Blow (pun intended) will be. And just because you can "see
someone in the office 35 hours or so a week" doesn't mean that they have
accomplished anything. My experience is that "groups" of people spend a
lot of time keeping otherwise productive people from getting anything done.

At 02:03 PM 7/7/99 -0700, you wrote:
>I, too, have been reading this very interesting thread, and thinking about
>how it maps to my corporate environment. My company encourages employees to
>work at home at least occasionally, and provides RAS accessibility and home
>machines as well. I take advantage of it sometimes, but find that I'm really
>most productive at the office. The real reason I'm writing is that I have
>had some experiences with contractors who have routinely billed me for
>unproductive time spent working at home. I'm not saying that I think there
>has been malfeasance or fraud; I'd handle that in a very different way. I'm
>just saying that I have a much better sense of productivity when I see
>someone in the office 35 hours a week or so. Maybe I'm not a very good
>manager, and should be able to manage someone remotely more effectively, but
>putting it quite bluntly, I think that that it's really easy to take
>advantage of your employer if you're not actually on the premises. Please
>flame politely.
>From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==
Joe Schrengohst
Contract Technical Writer
Cisco Systems
Network Software Services Unit
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
E-Mail: jschreng -at- cisco -dot- com
Cisco Phone: (408) 527-9844
Cisco Fax: (408) 527-1488
Home Phone: (775) 782-4129
Home Fax: (775) 782-5585

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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