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Teleworking: Pants or Pajamas?

Teleworking with my feet up

Do you relish that you don’t have to shave before clocking in? Do you rejoice because you don’t have to put on makeup after you wake up? Is it hard for you to decide if you should wear pants or pajamas to work today?

Teleworking, or telecommuting, has quite a few perks–certainly including relaxed standards on dress code and personal hygiene. But for those of you who know the joys of holding your very own weekly beard-growing contest, there are a few things we should attend to before you hand out any prizes.

Read more at destroy Distraction…

Seeing is Believing: What’s Wrong with Telecommuting?

Telecommuting: Seeing is Believing If it weren’t for the fact that everyone loves seeing my happy and smiling face at work I think I could really get into telecommuting – well except for the fact that my daughter seems to think the world lives to give her attention…

That aside, where else can you work in PJ’s, wear bedroom slippers, and sip on a latte while relaxing from your arm chair? I don’t have bedroom slippers, so I suppose I would have to expense those. But other than that – I got this gig down:

I have remote software on all of the servers, remote software to access any desktop or notebook I need, a VoIP handset to talk, e-mail for managing the tasks, instant messenger (IM) to chat, and a BlackBerry for errands. I’m all set.

Seeing is Believing:

People don’t see me, and what most people don’t see they don’t believe. Sure, many of us ‘technologists’ get it. We are mobile professionals on the road – and we judge performance based upon the results – right!?

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Perception?

Many organizations, including government, has turned to telecommuting as a cost-friendly way to maintain increasing demand for results. The benefits of telecommuting are wonderful:

  1. Higher productivity: More relaxed attitude and less office distractions.
  2. Lower overhead: lower expenses related to facilities costs.
  3. Other perks: lower fuel costs for the employees can equate to a raise for a creative manager.
  4. The list goes on…

The perception, however, can be a much different thing.

Perception is Reality:

I would venture a guess that most of you reading this blog are technologically – well, shall we say – progressive. You thirst for knowledge, to connect, to create… Sadly, you make up a smaller percentage of the workforce.

Thus toots the train of thought many executives travel upon.

“It is not the spoon that bends …

… but you that bends around the spoon,” as the quote goes. In essence, you have to see your way around the wall that is common misperception regarding telecommuters: that is they are hard to manage, hard to communicate with, and can be lazy.

I like to think of myself as a progressive leader, and make no mistake, that is what it takes to buy into a modern day vision of the mobile worker. However, I was recently bitten by a telecommuter for a SharePoint project I am working on that had the makings of a nightmare.

At the outset of the project, I had spent over a week trying to connect, but due to schedules it took us quite some time. Then there was the business of setting access and signing contracts. After these items were settled in, it took us another few days to connect – and to my dismay we only connected via IM – well after business hours?

Well, we discussed this and that, and this developer had a seemingly wonderful grasp upon some of the nuances of SharePoint development. I was promised a statement/estimate of work, and thus we were off.

Then a week came and went – no statement of work – no visible results. Then another week began to pass, and I initiated contact only to find no response, no work, nothing.

So it is that I, the progressively-minded leader, was bitten. I should’ve heard the alarm-bells, no the sirens, of project mismanagement missteps across the board – but I allowed myself to deviate from my standard management practices – all in the name of telecommuting.

So, there is a lesson somewhere inside, or else I will just feel miserable having wasted 4 weeks of my project portfolio’s time.

Telecommuting; the Brutal Truth:

What was my mistake? Not remembering that telecommuting is no different than comparing wired to wireless networks. Both have their places, but telecommuting is simply a medium of transport. Have some faith in the fact that belief does not have to be determined by sight alone.


Ken Stewart’s blog, ChangeForge.com, focuses on the collision between the constantly changing worlds of business and technology. Ken is also the Director of Technology at Kearns Business Solutions.