Monday, October 24, 2011

I Telecommute with Clothes On

For almost eleven years now I've worked from home in Waterloo for a company in Toronto. I am one of many employees of this company who telecommute from all over North America. We program and consult from our desks, attend client meetings on the phone, and travel to the client as needed, which isn't often.

We don't visit each other's cubicles or gather around the water cooler, but we communicate often through phone, e-mail and video conferencing. Technology has enabled us to share information in this very visual work we do.

About ten years ago, Maclean's magazine had an issue with a clearly naked woman lying on her bed, covered only by her laptop. The subject was telecommuting. I was so angry at this portayal of work at home employees and felt the cover hurt the movement toward more employees of this nature, so I wrote to the editor. The letter, indicating I was fully clothed and fully engaged was published.

Here we are ten years later and still the daily commute continues because management feels work must be done in person. Industries where employee performance and accountability are easily measurable are not taking advantage of the tools available today. Offices are still leased and all of the expenses associated with having that office are eventually passed along to consumers. Don't get me started on the environment.

So while resources are being sourced outside the country, wouldn't the real savings be in setting up more "fully clothed" and "fully engaged" telecommuters?

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