The Telecommuting Myth persists

Subject: The Telecommuting Myth persists
From: Ron Sering <rsering -at- EXCALIB -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 10:35:30 -0700

I had no idea that my innocuous little post would generate such fervor. I
would have to (somewhat) concur that trust would play a part in permitting
telecommuting. Most of the people who telecommute seem to do so for clients
or employers who have worked successfully with them for a fair amount of
time. One client with whom I worked on a part-time telecommuting basis
actually had a fairly dysfunctional workplace and somewhat inept management.
The dysfunction and ineptitude led to ad hoc decisions where employees
frequently dropped what they were doing and deal with unforeseen problems.
Consquently, my telecommuting got cut short. So I amend my previous post. It
isn't a myth; it's just in the beginning phases. I had another client,
across the country, who absolutely wanted a TW on site. This was in the late
80s, when 2400 baud modems were state of the art. The only bright side to
this was that I logged quite a few flier miles visiting the client.

However, I do think that identifying with "the team" is as much a function
of personality as it is a requirement for getting the job done. I have
worked for employers whose emphasis on "the team" bordered on the cultish,
while for others who didn't care a great deal what you did day-to-day, just
so you get the job done (come to think of it, eh, that place went out of
business. Anyway...). It doesn't seem like telecommuting is for everyone,
and does require a retooling of attitudes toward work, by both employer and

Here's another thought to toss around: working at home permits greater
connection with home and family, but does it also maintain a constant
connection with work, as well?

Ron Sering not rod serling

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