Re: The Telecommuting Myth and ignorant remarks

Subject: Re: The Telecommuting Myth and ignorant remarks
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- JAGUNET -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 10:01:02 -0400

On 7/9/1999 9:22 AM, Tim Altom (taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM) wrote:
>my favorite way of
>working is for a company that emphasizes the process and the team, not the
>product. Products come and go, but employee enthusiasm is the company's
>most precious asset.
>The other side of this is the company that's product-centric, and
>therefore needs defined skills and specs from its people. We come together
>to do a project, we disperse. These kinds of teams are simple to put together,
>because you can hire people with a checklist. They're often efficient and
>quick. But they produce only product, and nothing more. It's like a
>workplace sitcom.
>In such a company, why not telecommute, if you're able to? You're just a
>writer or whatever. Not a contributor, but a job description. If that's
>where you feel comfortable, fine.

In *any* company, why not telecommute if you're able to? I've
successfully telecommuted for both kinds of companies, so I know it's
possible. I can be just as much a part of a living, breathing team from
my home office as I can from a cubicle, because I make the effort to do
so. I've never been an anonymous cog in the machine working from home,
and my colleagues propped my photo in front of a speakerphone in meetings
to prove it... ;-)

We're not "obviously talking about two different things," and it's overly
simplistic to suggest we are. We're talking about telecommuting while
doing documentation for *any* kind of company, and my experience shows
that it can be done well, if people want it to be done. To stay a part of
the team, you have to:

* Stay in contact with people. Initiate "water cooler" conversations on a
regular basis by phone or instant message, and include others as well.
Conference calling is your friend. Brainstorming happens with regular
contact, not wholesome thoughts.

* Encourage people to call just to chat about the project, even without a
particular "issue" to discuss, just as you would if you stopped by
someone's cube or they stopped by yours. Others may need your help in
becoming comfortable with "bothering you at home," so help them.

* Be just as sociable from a distance as you would be in the office. I
once had some colleagues dial me in to lunch. I also had plans to have
doughnuts delivered once for a weekly meeting, but couldn't find a
service that would deliver... (any ideas?)

The key is to have people supporting you, not working against you, in
telecommuting. All else follows from that.


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