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Six Questions To Ask Before Telecommuting

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the will-you-be-checking-on-my-work dept.

Transportation 320

Lucas123 writes "With gas prices 30% higher this summer over last, telecommuting is back on everyone's radar. According to a Computerworld story, however, IT and telecommuting don't have a great record of success. For example, citing negative impacts on productivity, HP ended its telecommuting policy for hundreds of workers two years ago, and this year, Intel began requiring more than half the teleworkers in its IT group to report to the office at least four days a week. So before leaping, some questions you should ask as a manager if you're considering telework include: How will you define and measure performance? Will creativity suffer? What about employees stuck in the office?"

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How likely are your employees likely to slack off? (5, Insightful)

Haoie (1277294) | about 6 years ago | (#24683405)

Frankly, without someone to poke me with a sharp stick now and then, I wouldn't get much done.

I want to telecommute now.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | about 6 years ago | (#24683423)

That's why I don't telecommute, even though I could - I get nothing done.

Well that and I have no excuse as I live a half hour's walk from work.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (5, Interesting)

jbengt (874751) | about 6 years ago | (#24684359)

I telecommute one day a week, and, when it comes to getting my jobs done (as opposed to responding to interruptions that I admit also sometimes need to be taken care of) I typically get more done at home than at the office. Today, though I got off to a slow start, I put in a good 8 hours, not needing to stop during for lunch, able to spend a couple of breaks outside in the good weather with our dogs and my son, and finishing some calculations that I haven't had a chance to start for the last two weeks. It also seems to help make the rest of the week in the office much more productive, as it breaks up the drag of what can sometimes otherwise become a monotonous daily routine.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24683489)

Frankly, without someone to poke me with a sharp stick now and then, I wouldn't get much done.

I sometimes wonder how much gets done even when people are physically present, there is a lot of solitaire and web surfing going on in many offices. Perhaps with a rise in telecommuting we can switch to getting paid for generating x amount of work done instead of x hours in the workplace. It would lead to huge efficiency improvements, and it seems the only practical way to quantify "a days work" telecommuting.

so you can make $0 while you wait for other people (5, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#24683529)

so you can make $0 while you wait for other people to do there job so you can get your done.

Re:so you can make $0 while you wait for other peo (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 6 years ago | (#24683883)

This is the problem I would worry about. I know I've had to wait for others to do their job (due to their own procrastination, etc) so I could get something done that was due already. Heck, anyone who has done a team assignment in middle school has had that experience.

I have a simple solution to this: every moment I'm working on your project, including waiting on you (and subordinates) because you didn't do what you said you would, I charge you. I'll bill 3 people at once while I wait around. If we pre-arrange that I won't be working during a specific time (because you're busy or whatever) that's fine. But if I am supposed to be fixing your project and I can't because of you, you're still paying.

Of course, you have to be really really good at your job to be able to get terms like that. That's why pretty much no one would be willing to accept those terms. I know I wouldn't hire someone else with those terms unless I really trusted them. And I wouldn't trust them that much without working with them, which I wouldn't do without....

I'm with you. The "let's all bill based on actual work and not just 40 hours a week thing" is great in theory but unless you're the guy everyone else is always forced to wait on it won't work out.

Re:so you can make $0 while you wait for other peo (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24684195)

so I can mow the lawn,walk the dog,read a book,go jogging,build lego creations with my nephews,take a walk in the park,make a sandwich,etc while I wait for other people to do their job so I can get my done. I'd rather it that way then waiting for someone else, while pretending to be busy in a cubicle. Either way I'll likely have to work after business hours if I am kept waiting too long, but if I am waiting in my home, then those delayed hours aren't detracting so much from my home life.

Re:so you can make $0 while you wait for other peo (5, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | about 6 years ago | (#24684445)

I'm not a programmer, I'm a translator, so my work is automatically telecommuting.

The price you pay for your work hours not detracting from your home hours is your home hours not detracting from your work hours. The clock doesn't get to watch you, but you don't get to watch the clock, either. When those people finally get you that work you've been waiting for, suddenly the pressure's on you, and no one's interested if it's already nine at night (and you've already had a coupla beers).

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (2, Interesting)

shadwstalkr (111149) | about 6 years ago | (#24683935)

The problem is how do you quantify productivity. In some jobs it's easy, but for most creative work it probably isn't. Not to mention dealing with collaboration, and people who contribute most as morale boosters or brainstormers (for lack of a better term).

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (5, Insightful)

mrroot (543673) | about 6 years ago | (#24683995)

Perhaps with a rise in telecommuting we can switch to getting paid for generating x amount of work done instead of x hours in the workplace.

That is fine if you are a worker drone that produces X widgets per hour, or answers Y calls per hour. Having a job that does not lend itself well towards telecommuting is GOOD. It means you are valuable for something more than what can be written down in a procedure and shipped overseas. Personally, I don't want my work intruding on my personal space. Because sometimes work sucks, and when it does my home is where I go to get away from it and relax.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (3, Insightful)

brianez21 (945805) | about 6 years ago | (#24684039)

Perhaps with a rise in telecommuting we can switch to getting paid for generating x amount of work done instead of x hours in the workplace.

And just how do you propose to measure the amount of work done? By number of emails sent? Lines of code written? Bugfixes patched? The problem is that there's just no accurate metric for this kind of thing.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (1)

phulegart (997083) | about 6 years ago | (#24684315)

I don't think it your scenario would lead to a rise in efficiency, unless you mean how efficiently the company handles it's money. It would not have to pay as much, as people would be getting paid by how much work they do, rather than getting paid for a 40 hour work week.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#24684335)

It seems to me like it depends on the job and it depends on the worker. Not all jobs can be measured well by "generating X amount of work". Sometimes the issue really is having someone standing by, available for when you need them.

And then, also, some of those people who spend half the day playing solitaire would spend 90% of their day playing solitaire if their boss didn't walk by now and then. Ignoring the problem of jobs where efficacy is hard to measure, you still need someone to come up with measurements, and then to spend time analyzing the metrics you collect.

To put it another way, let's assume for the sake of argument that every job can be measured well by objective statistical measurements, and also that those measurements can be taken remotely from a telecommuter. You still need a system for collecting and verifying those measurements. Then, on top of that, you need managers who can understand that data, identify problems, and rectify those problems remotely.

That sounds pretty simple if you're imagining a job where you can just mark someone as an "underachiever" and fire them if they don't shape up, but management is often a bit more complicated. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and part of a manager's job is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the members of his team. It's often not realistic to fire/replace someone when you see a weakness, because you'll just replace them with a different worker who has different weaknesses. Instead, you either have to position them so that their weakness isn't detrimental, or else try to help them grow and overcome that weakness. That would be pretty hard to do remotely.

So what I'm saying is, even in the best case scenario, it could make things very difficult to manage. The result is that you might be putting a lot of faith in the ability of the managers. Is that something you want to do?

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#24684409)

Exactly, and I'm up front with it. Last productivity meeting with the new bosses I sat there and said... I work 2 hours a day, the other 6 I screw off. They know what I do, I laid out a nice huge list at their feet and also mentioned that they would have to hire 2 people at my rate to replace me. I'm arrogant about time because micromanagers are worthless (I said that as well) and when I am needed I work with a vengeance. If you give me useless busywork, I'll do it crappy or not at all.

I did this the last 5 times I had a productivity meeting with new owners and always end up promoted. Just be up front with them and hold no punches, managers worth working for understand it.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (5, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 6 years ago | (#24683903)

You see, what you say is funny, but it's really the employers biggest reason for not investing. They're scared that you'd sit at home and do fuck all.

In fact, in my experience, the people that matter work wherever they are, and the people that don't matter are never going to put in an honest day.

A good work ethic does not differentiate based on environment.

What has a far more negative effect is being treated like shit in the workplace. I've seen so many devoted, committed, hard working employees let their work go south because they finally realised that there is no fucking point; they can spend all year making a difference for one stupid ill informed management decision to put them back way before where they started.

The saddest thing is it's these fucking managers who go home and 'telecommute', and sit around doing no work, who think that must therefore apply to the rest of us.

But the truth is that a bad manager can do fuck all wherever he is, and the worst thing about that is that sometimes that's better for the organisation than them getting their fingers into the pies and fucking everything up.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24684199)

You see, what you say is funny, but it's really the employers biggest reason for not investing. They're scared that you'd sit at home and do fuck all. In fact, in my experience, the people that matter work wherever they are, and the people that don't matter are never going to put in an honest day. A good work ethic does not differentiate based on environment. What has a far more negative effect is being treated like shit in the workplace. I've seen so many devoted, committed, hard working employees let their work go south because they finally realised that there is no fucking point; they can spend all year making a difference for one stupid ill informed management decision to put them back way before where they started. The saddest thing is it's these fucking managers who go home and 'telecommute', and sit around doing no work, who think that must therefore apply to the rest of us. But the truth is that a bad manager can do fuck all wherever he is, and the worst thing about that is that sometimes that's better for the organisation than them getting their fingers into the pies and fucking everything up.

You have truly mastered the English language. I don't even know what "f*ck all" means. Is that a new high school term you created to show your prowess with swearing in front of your teeny bopper friends? By the way, good job making it difficult for people to view your post while at work without triggering any filters.

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (5, Interesting)

Eggplant62 (120514) | about 6 years ago | (#24683905)

I'm the exact opposite. I work for a medical transcription company, managing a team of voice recognition editors/transcriptionists. I work at home, complete telecommute, and I get lots done. I put in a good day's work, I look for and call out problems, and keep tabs on the store basically.

I have the option of working out on the deck in my yard in summers. If I need to travel for vacation or whatever, I just take my laptop and other gear with me and still catch lines while I'm gone, if I'm really good and bored. Try it, you might like it. To me, work is Slack. Or kill me.

Praise "Bob"!

Re:How likely are your employees likely to slack o (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 6 years ago | (#24683949)

That's the beautiful thing about telecommuting. I've done it. Being free of constant supervision is disorienting at first, but wow, is it ever a relief. It is VERY tempting to watch TV, go hit golf balls, have a few beers with lunch, etc. Eventually, self-preservation kicks in and you realize that you have to get your ass in gear. You become more organized. You plan your day. You learn to push back on spouses/kids/whomever who think it's okay to interrupt your workday with housekeeping requests. IMHO, those capable of it will become more mature employees.

The most important question is... (3, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24683419)

The most important question is...

Can you reboot it remotely. If you physically need to press a button, or change media, you won't be telecommuting.

Re:The most important question is... (2, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | about 6 years ago | (#24683475)

check out bay technologies [baytech.net] , they have some very useful stuff there for remote management. I've used their RPCs (think powerstrip with an ethernet port) for several years. Reboot anything that can power-on-after-power-fail, and you're set.

Modern Server Hardware (5, Informative)

missing000 (602285) | about 6 years ago | (#24683487)

Most modern servers have facilities to do just that.

I do a day from home each week and use remote tools for everything from power resets to OS installs remotely.

The times you have to touch a server itself in a modern environment is infrequent enough you can work from anywhere most of the time.

IP KVM (3, Informative)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 6 years ago | (#24683549)

Look at this: IP KVM [google.com] .

With many of those products, you can not only remotely control the system (including see the power on self test, modify CMOS settings and even install an operating system) but they have a feature to cycle power as well.

We've been using them for several years now. Works great.

Re:The most important question is... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#24683561)

Thats why you rotate people one or 2 days off a week, making sure that every department has at least one person in the office on every day.

Even the best planned remote management tools can fail.

Re:The most important question is... (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 6 years ago | (#24683819)

Don't your servers come with an ILOM?

Re:The most important question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683969)

Not true. Heres two: USD$99 and USD$600

http://www.serialcontrols.com//Prod_Details/R4Box-USB.html

http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=70

Re:The most important question is... (1)

simontek2 (523795) | about 6 years ago | (#24684105)

I see the IPKVM, but there are also remote reboots. Basically, power strips that ping your server. if it stops pinging, it reboots it.

Re:The most important question is... (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#24684283)

Wrong! The most important question is...

Can I do my work in my underwear, or am I expected to video conference? (To clarify you may need to ask: Is it okay if I video conference in my underwear?)

Yes, but where are my snakes? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683481)

I could swear I saw them in the bag like a second ago. FUCK!

Re:Yes, but where are my snakes? (-1, Offtopic)

fred fleenblat (463628) | about 6 years ago | (#24683533)

Did you check the plane?
Did you check the m***** f****** plane?!

offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (5, Insightful)

cats-paw (34890) | about 6 years ago | (#24683495)

As many on slashdot have pointed out in previous threads about offshoring, one of the main drivers of the high cost of living, i.e. a high salary is the necessity of working in expensive urban areas.

Companies are perfectly willing to take non-trivial jobs and ship them overseas, but seem to be extremely reluctant to let workers telecommute, which would probably help in lowering costs, allowing the jobs to stay here.

Really, WTF ?

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#24683609)

Likely because telecommuting would require them to pay existing wages and would require the purchase of hardware/software to facilitate it.

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (1)

Metasquares (555685) | about 6 years ago | (#24683861)

I think there are people who would take a lower wage in exchange for a telecommute. I would, anyway. It would probably save me about two hours a day, if not more.

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 6 years ago | (#24683615)

Because they feel more comfortable with the though that there's some manager over there watching to make sure the underlings are actually working.

I'm not saying it is a *valid* reason, but there ya go.

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24684205)

"Because they feel more comfortable with the though that there's some manager over there watching to make sure the underlings are actually working."

Well, as long as the work gets done on time...who cares how you spend your every minute 'on the clock'?

I mean..with most people being salaried..isn't that what it means? You get the job done no matter how much time it takes (extra or less)?

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (5, Insightful)

plutoXL (1314421) | about 6 years ago | (#24683631)

When you offshore, they still keep the whole big office on the other side of the world, you still have slaves and slave drivers in the same place.
If you telecommute, you get one slave with his tv, bed and fridge close by (or nagging significant other and bunch of kids running around) and no one to kick him around when he gets lazy.

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 6 years ago | (#24683719)

Companies are perfectly willing to take non-trivial jobs and ship them overseas, but seem to be extremely reluctant to let workers telecommute, which would probably help in lowering costs, allowing the jobs to stay here

Companies usually offshore whole teams or departments rather than individual jobs. The guys in India work as a team under a team lead or manager, sitting together and (hopefully) communicating effectively. If you want to compare it to telecommuting, it would be allowing you to work from home, but only if you'd let your team mates bring their laptops to your place and work with you...

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | about 6 years ago | (#24683833)

All "high costs" are not created equal. You can get some fairly skilled labor in India or China for $30K. And that person has the same standard of living as a US resident who makes more than twice that, due to the difference in the cost of living.

Working from home may save your employer money. But half your salary? Unlikely.

Re:offshore jobs but won't allow telecommuting (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | about 6 years ago | (#24684085)

I would guess that it is because most jobs that can be performed effectively via telecommuting, could also be outsourced. Why go halfway? The only reason you still have your job is precisely because your job is not concusive to being doen somewhere else. What's the difference between India and an employee's mom's basement?

Yuck. 4 click throughs. (4, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#24683501)

Try THIS [computerworld.com] link.

Re:Yuck. 4 click throughs. (1, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#24683669)

And since I have the mod points, Ill ask the karma-killing question.

Where did the "Nintendo Gets sued for patent violations in Wiimote" go?

Re:Yuck. 4 click throughs. (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 6 years ago | (#24683865)

There was some sort of comment bug, but only on that story. It'll probably come back once the problem is fixed.

With all due respect... (3, Insightful)

edcheevy (1160545) | about 6 years ago | (#24683503)

Many of these questions should be asked for ANY position, regardless of how much telecommuting is involved. Questions 2 & 3 are relevant to most any job (i.e. "what am I actually paid for?"). #4 & 5 are relevant in any place that has teleworkers, even if it's not you, since they might be on your team, and 6 applies to just about any job situation. It's the "what if things change?" question.

Anecdotes (5, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | about 6 years ago | (#24683509)

A while ago, I was finishing my degree while maintaining a full-time job. I reached a point where I needed to take time off in order to concentrate on one of my classes - so I did. In those two weeks, it immediately became apparent to me that I could not get things done at home (too many distractions), nor at the library (I have to pack up everything in order to use the restroom?).

So I made the 45 minute trek into work (each way - 1.5 hours round trip) in order to have a productive place to concentrate on The Code. While this is my own experience, I do realize that others can be productive in the middle of the Sahara or in a dimly lit basement. I'm just trying to provide some contrast to this panacea that everyone is painting with telecommuting.

It doesn't work for everyone.

Re:Anecdotes (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24683805)

True.
It's about being able to separate your home work time from all else.

Fortunately, my wife keeps the kids out of the room when I telecommute.

I do know some people who stopped becasue there wife thought it was ok to leave the kids with them for 'quick' errands.
I don't really understand that. I mean, should there be enough respect for that not to happen?

Re:Anecdotes (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 years ago | (#24683849)

One thing I have found is that if you want to work from home, you need a home office. It needs a door, and should have nothing but office stuff. (No TV) Other people in your home need to understand that if someone opens that door, and no one is in need of urgent medical care, someone will be. Many companies that I have seen do telecommuting well require a picture of the home "workspace" for approval.

Re:Anecdotes (3, Informative)

theJML (911853) | about 6 years ago | (#24684275)

The funny thing is that the office is where all of my distractions are. Now, for background, I am married, but my wife works and we have no kids. I have a seperate "Office" though it's really just where all the computers and books are... In anycase, on a number of occasions lately I've had doc appointments or ups packages due or whatever so I said "I'll be working from home this evening". As we've always had a number of full time offsite employees, they let me go ahead and do it and they were the most productive times I've had in a LONG TIME.

There are probably a few things that lead to this. #1 I apparently am the "go-to guy" at work. This is annoying, but it comes from being there a long time, being useful, overhearing people and having general knowledge of most all major things going in the company. So everyone comes to me with questions/requests/favors/opinions/discussions/meetings. It's really annoying when you're trying to code. I can't even make it through a 7min mp3 most of the time without getting bombarded. I recently took a half day for an appointment in the am, and I found at home I knocked out more, solid code in 4 hours than I had over the last two weeks. It was a scary realization that I was really that hampered at work.

After this I asked if it would be acceptable to work 4 days a week from the office and one day a week, fixed or not, where I could work from home to help productivity. I was politely told hell no.

I really have to wonder at this point, why I even code at work if we're that not-worried about our productivity. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that anything to increase productivity while saving the company money (all the IT infrastructure is already in place for remote work as we still have about 15 full time remote employees).

Re:Anecdotes (2, Interesting)

pbowen (9912) | about 6 years ago | (#24684327)

There are a growing number of "coworking" spaces being established just to solve this issue. Most towns with any major tech focus have plans. Check out the Coworking wiki [pbwiki.com] for more info.

My six questions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683519)

  1. Can I access Slashdot?
  2. Can I access porn?
  3. Can I travel/work in a basement-like environment?
  4. Can I watch Star Trek while I work?
  5. What's a female?
  6. What's sex?

Why Do You Do It?, have sex with animals? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683543)

My sexual experience with critters has been with dogs, even though I am an avowed cat and horse lover as well. Don't have sexual feelings or fantasies about the cats, I do fantasize about horses, but am just not willing to go there.... They are huge warm-bloods and a bit high-toned if thats the correct way to say that?

Started out with my own adult male canine who took to pestering, sniffing and nuzzling me when masturbating, then licking the head of my cock which was surprisingly electric and made me cum a torrent which he then to my amazement proceeded to lap up like a treat.

I suppose this wasn't too far out for me because I had already what I considered to be a healthy bisexual relationship with my best friend and his brother, strictly oral, kissing, light bondage, and outdoor play where we would hide our clothes and run off and sometimes play in safe, grassy places... Oddly we never thought about or considered classification of ourselves as gay, we just enjoyed the freedom to experience everything once we had crossed the initial line as it were, so I guess my ready acceptance of all else was an extension of this perhaps...

Anyhow, the dog with his learned Pavlovian response now knew there was a tasty treat to go along with the fascinating (to him) smell of my sweaty crotch, and I began to relax with him and learned to trust him not to do anything stupid. As I relaxed, he explored more and before long he was licking my ass while I furiously pounded myself. I was curious about anal before this but that pretty much clinched it...I was hooked!

From there it was just a matter of time before I began exploring his body and masturbating him too. I loved how his cock grew and swelled before ejaculating and was blown away by the volume of cum he produced compared to mine. I put off going down on him for a long time out of fear for my health but I thought about it right from the first time I brought him off with my hand and had an immediate jealous pang as he cleaned up what was to him a yummy treat!

I loved swallowing my friends cum, and they also shared this feeling so it was inevitable that I would suck my dog's cock in a way... In the end it was incredible and even better than I imagined, and from the first taste of his doggie cum I was absolutely hooked!

After some time sadly he passed away, I grew up and moved cross-country to have a career and a life and while I've had 3 dogs since, my desires never went there again until recently...

In the end I don't know that I've answered the original question, but I absolutely loved that dog, he was my best friend, we went through everything together, playing, laughing and even crying. He was my canine best friend and was always content to see me as his pack leader and would follow me anywhere. Have some neat stories that amplify how devoted to me he was. So yeah it was love, but in all honesty it was also daring to sample that which is Taboo as well. It is a trait that I carry with my today. I have learned that there is much pleasure to be derived beyond the boundaries of right and wrong, and I love my secret pleasures!

Best to all!

I've never really understood (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683545)

what it means for a manager to "work at home". Email and IM are simply much lower quality tools than face to face communication.

Well, maybe if they're working on a keynote speech for the trade show, that would make sense. But for the most part, it seems like a good excuse for people to do housework and work on their hobbies on the company dime, while occasionally glancing at their inbox and firing off a bunch of inconsequential emails ("hey Joe, can you look at this?")

Re:I've never really understood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683671)

occasionally glancing at their inbox and firing off a bunch of inconsequential emails ("hey Joe, can you look at this?")

Isn't that what they do at work anyway? *ducks*

-1 Offtopic (-1, Offtopic)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 6 years ago | (#24683579)

But... what happened to Nintendo Wii Targeted In patent Lawsuit [slashdot.org]

Like, was it bogus? or did Nintendo or something tell you guys to remove it? Or is my browser editing Slashdot now?

Re:-1 Offtopic (1)

kurokaze (221063) | about 6 years ago | (#24683651)

yeah.. I clicked on the link and got an empty page... weird..

Re:-1 Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683703)

the user that posted it was zackzero, http://yro.slashdot.org/~zackzero/ [slashdot.org] I saw it too. I also saw a story about the ISS being threatened by the Caucasus conflict, something to do with using Soyuz rockets, that had been commented on, which has now disappeared. I know we've had some dodgy stories this week on Slashdot (Duke Nukem Forever being my favourite), but deleting entries? Come on.

Re:-1 Offtopic (1)

plutoXL (1314421) | about 6 years ago | (#24683667)

Another editor will get his head chopped off. Guys in /. have no mercy about editorial mistakes.

Re:-1 Offtopic (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 years ago | (#24683725)

Yeah I saw it, too, but it wouldn't let me post.

Wow....I'm actually about to do this. (2, Interesting)

Seakip18 (1106315) | about 6 years ago | (#24683589)

Heh. I actually just made a journal entry regarding this. I work for a gov't agency that does not have a clear telecommuting policy and we're about to actually find out how well it will work.

Unfortunately, a concrete schedule hasn't been decided on so it will be played by ear till we figure out if the arrangement is going to work or not. I'm pretty sure I'm the first worker that is actually going to telecommute the majority of the time.

I think the biggest problem with non-software companies is to determine what requires face-to-face time and what doesn't. I know I'm going to be pretty dejected if I show up to work and end up spending a week behind a monitor instead of meetings with Finance, etc.

You can tell if I'm getting work done by issues being resolved. No "If I'm doing it right, you'' see nothing at all." job here. I feel if they allow me to do this, I'm going to have prove them right in letting me work offsite.

Another question is why they simply don't replace me. Our two recent hires left much to be desired, so I'm guess the market here is pretty bad or they are looking for talent in the wrong places.

If it doesn't work, I'll at least say I gave it a shot. And no, I'm not saying which agency.

MILESTONES AND TARGETS (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24683839)

you can set them and have them for any kind of work, software or not. any company/agency, government or private. they work.

actually they are the prime identifier of any output. therefore if you set those, facilitate the communication tools (contact IM contact, email, a solid web project manager software), you can get all kinds of stuff done.

I have done this... (2, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | about 6 years ago | (#24683619)

and, on occassion, I still try to do it (telecommute). Unfortunately, my new manager does not see the advantages and it's less likely these days that I am allowed to. I can see my managers point, even though I might disagree. I am just as productive (if not more productive) at home as I am when at work. The "problem" my manager sees, though, is something along the lines of needing a clear separation between "work" time and "lesiure/relaxation" time. Having a physical distinction (i.e workplace/home) between these two activities he sees as a way to ensure that employees lives are balanced and the home does not become just another workplace. Personally I have no problem seperating work and home, but I can understand his point, and I can understand his dilemma (how would he "know" that I can make this distinction). It gets me angry sometimes that I can no longer telecommute, but I guess I should just be grateful that I have a manager who (apparently) looks out for the mental well-being of employees.

he is right (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24683705)

im working from home since 2 years. and its true that home becomes half a workplace after some time. its not a total work place, not a total relaxation place, but becomes something in between. you are never as stressful as at work, or relaxed as at home. you live in an optimal point in the limbo between them. half ready to work all the time, half ready to have fun all the time. weird.

Re:he is right (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about 6 years ago | (#24683841)

Yeah, that is an excellent way of describing it. And, yes (I didn't make it clear) I do think my manager is right. Working at home means it's much more difficult just to "turn off" at the end of the day. There is always the temptation to do just one more paragraph of a report, or just one more function of code. Or, google one more piece of information. Or, look up one last reference. Etc.

There is also the issue that I am enduring right this moment. I am home sick, and know it would be very easy for me login to the VPN or fire-up the remote desktop and continue my current project. It's taking quite a bit to resist that temptation actually, but at the end of the day: I am sick, I should not be doing work. When I was telecommuniting "not" working was probably more difficult when I was ill, meaning that I wasn't giving myself much needed rest. All in all, not telecommuniting anymore is a Good Thing, even though I would still like to do it (mainly to save fuel costs :-).

Re:he is right (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24683897)

Yeah, that is an excellent way of describing it. And, yes (I didn't make it clear) I do think my manager is right. Working at home means it's much more difficult just to "turn off" at the end of the day. There is always the temptation to do just one more paragraph of a report, or just one more function of code. Or, google one more piece of information. Or, look up one last reference. Etc.

exactly

There is also the issue that I am enduring right this moment. I am home sick, and know it would be very easy for me login to the VPN or fire-up the remote desktop and continue my current project. It's taking quite a bit to resist that temptation actually, but at the end of the day: I am sick, I should not be doing work. When I was telecommuniting "not" working was probably more difficult when I was ill, meaning that I wasn't giving myself much needed rest. All in all, not telecommuniting anymore is a Good Thing, even though I would still like to do it (mainly to save fuel costs :-).

there is a solution though, you can create a separate workplace at your home. like, a well equipped garage, or an extension of your home. this will create the necessary work/home life separation, will provide the concentration you need (since you aint gonna be letting any home life stuff - kids and all - encroach into that space and anything out to home), and also cut fuel costs.

you just need the space though.

Re:he is right (1)

dunnius (1298159) | about 6 years ago | (#24683979)

im working from home since 2 years. and its true that home becomes half a workplace after some time. its not a total work place, not a total relaxation place, but becomes something in between. you are never as stressful as at work, or relaxed as at home. you live in an optimal point in the limbo between them. half ready to work all the time, half ready to have fun all the time. weird.

I have noticed that too. But overall I am much happier working from home rather than having to travel. One of the major benefits for me from working from home is that I don't eat fast food. My health has improved since I started telecommuting.

travel (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24684071)

the commute. now thats very detrimental to concentration and energy. a 30 minute in a traffic jam kills much energy. and in general any commute creates much wear and tear.

Carpool (1, Interesting)

KalvinB (205500) | about 6 years ago | (#24683655)

Carpool [dawnofthegeeks.com] is a simple Google Maps based app I wrote.

Your employer (or you) can create an account for your place of work. All the employees can then create an account and join the account created for the workplace. Just send your coworkers the username and public password for the place of business so they can join the group. The public password can't be used to log into the account. It's just to help maintain your privacy.

You can then see (or have the site tell you an approximation of) who would be best to carpool with.

Even though I live 50 miles out of town I always seem to find at least one coworker to carpool with which cuts my gas bill in half.

For the curious, I'd have to drive 1 million miles at $4 a gallon before I spend as much money in gas as I save on my mortgage.

Re:Carpool (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#24683755)

For the curious, I'd have to drive 1 million miles at $4 a gallon before I spend as much money in gas as I save on my mortgage.

Well, over a typical 30 year mortgage at 50 miles each way per workday, you'll be driving about 624,000 miles so you're already a good chunk of the way there. Add in to that the additional wear and tear on your vehicles, the probability of gas prices rising further, the likely need to have two vehicles instead of one at least at some point, and this ceases to sound very good to me.

Re:Carpool (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | about 6 years ago | (#24683825)

AAA actually has rates for maintenance per mile and tire wear per mile in addition to depreciation per year on the miles. Makes computing cost of driving pretty nice.

Re:Carpool (4, Insightful)

mrroot (543673) | about 6 years ago | (#24684107)

Well, over a typical 30 year mortgage at 50 miles each way per workday, you'll be driving about 624,000 miles so you're already a good chunk of the way there. Add in to that the additional wear and tear on your vehicles, the probability of gas prices rising further, the likely need to have two vehicles instead of one at least at some point, and this ceases to sound very good to me.

I didn't check your math, but you are RIGHT about your point. People only think things through the first step, but if you add up the additional costs, sometimes what appears to be a financially smart move actually is not. And don't forget the non-financial costs of living farther from work... having to spend more time in the car, instead of doing whatever you like. And also the fact that you are more likely to get into a car accident, since you spend more time on the road. Or what about the health toll? So you get home later and you only have time to eat fast-food for dinner, or don't have time to go for a jog or work out?

With a Mortgage You're Stuck (1)

KalvinB (205500) | about 6 years ago | (#24684171)

With a mortgage you're stuck paying it until it's done.

With cars you can do things to cut costs. Like carpool. Get an electric car. Buy used. Find a different job. Ride a bus. Telecommute. Your mortgage isn't going to adapt.

In your calculation that good chunk of the way leaves about $67,000 worth of gas you've saved over the life of the mortgage at 24mpg.

The biggest savings is in the ability to pay the mortgage off in 15 years as opposed to 30. If I lived in town that extra money going into the mortgage every month would be part of the minimum payment for the full 30 years.

The amount I'd save in gas doesn't come close to covering the amount needed to pay off that more expensive mortgage in 15 years.

People are freaking out about gas not realizing it's a flexible bill and there are better ways to save money.

Re:Carpool (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24683787)

Have figured it including the 4-5 hours a week of time?

Re:Carpool (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24683831)

Have YOU figured it out. Me speak english good.

Milestones (4, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24683687)

when telecommuting, you will find it VERY difficult to explain being late on any milestone. in office, you are there, people see you 'work', and therefore your excuses (valid or not) has greater acceptance. however when telecommuting, everyone is on the lookout to prevent slacking, and any excuse will have a greater rate of being taken as slacking.

simple as that. milestones, output. rock solid.

Re:Milestones (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 years ago | (#24683901)

Not hard at all. CC the manager each e-mail when you are requesting something missing, late, or not to spec. That way you have a nice record to fall back on. Also, he may light a fire under the other people at work who only "look" like they are working. :)

anti-telecommuting propaganda (5, Informative)

onehitwonder (1118559) | about 6 years ago | (#24683727)

Well duh. Anyone with an ounce of common sense will ask the questions outlined in this story. I can't believe Computerworld felt this article needed to be written. Obviously, companies should have policies about telecommuting. And obviously, not every employee or role inside a company lends itself to working from home. No one is advocating a telecommuting free-for-all.

I'm also disappointed that the article called out two examples of companies that back-tracked on their telecommuting arrangements without discussing any of the success stories--and there are many. I realize this is shameless self-promotion, but last month I wrote an article for CIO.com about a small software company, Chorus, that closed all of its offices in an admittedly rather drastic cost-cutting move, and now everyone at Chorus--everyone--works from home [cio.com] . And you know what, the strategy is working out well for Chorus employees' productivity. The company made some mistakes in rolling out the telecommuting strategy, but overall they approached it sensibly, and it's working.

Let's learn from the success stories and not use the failures to promote an anti-telecommuting agenda.

I am a full-time telecommuter (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 6 years ago | (#24683743)

I work from the east coast, for a company on the west coast. I can tell you it isn't as glamorous as people think. It is tough on the employer, and tough on the employee.

Employee:
Your work will encroach upon your personal time, and you will miss that commute time as a way to separate your personal life from your work life. If you work in the same space you play, you will have a hard time separating work stress from your home life. How do you handle design meetings? Code reviews? Staff meetings?

Employer:
Some companies just don't know how to handle telecommuters. How do you know someone is not happy with their job, or is having personal problems, if you can't see them on a daily basis? Another hint: Staff meetings over IM are not highly productive!

--
11:45 (Manager) Joe, what is your status on Project X?
*crickets*
11:50 (Joe) Sorry, I went out to get the mail. ...45 minutes later, the 15 minute staff meeting continues...
--

Does the company pay for separate work and home licenses for software? Or do they give you a laptop? These are all expenses the company needs to consider.

Overall:
Both the employer and the employee need to spend more time communicating and collaborating, and more time on tools and licenses than when someone is working from the office. Beware.

Re:I am a full-time telecommuter (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24683845)

YOu only proved that telecommuting doesn't work for people who don't know how to behave professionally.

Re:I am a full-time telecommuter (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 6 years ago | (#24684007)

Staff meetings over IM are not highly productive!

If only someone could invent a device that would allow instant spoken communication between two separate locations... we'd really be getting somewhere then.

Re:I am a full-time telecommuter (4, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | about 6 years ago | (#24684041)

[...] you will miss that commute time as a way to separate your personal life from your work life.

You know, I'd never thought of that before. My commute is 45 minutes each way and I am thinking of work in both directions. It's true though, the 45 minutes into work my mind is preparing for work. The 45 minutes home, my mind is tying up loose ends so when I finally get home, I can switch off. I do write notes when I get home if I think of something while in the car driving, but they're very short notes that I email myself so I can refocus on them the next day. If it were not for the drive, I'm not sure the switching off when I pull into the garage would be as easy.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683799)

Where did the Wii article suddenly go?

Don't Cancel Telecommuting... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 6 years ago | (#24683823)

Cancel unproductive workers who telecommute instead. In all seriousness, it takes a special person to be able to actually keep on task at home. Hell, most of us are posting to slashdot from work. Just think about this--NSFW doesn't apply when you telecommute. I'd tell my boss straight up that I wouldn't be able to telecommute because I wouldn't get any work done.

keep in mind. (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 6 years ago | (#24683917)

That if your job can be done via telecommuting, then your company can just as easily fire you and hire some guy in India or china to do the same thing.

Question 4 (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 6 years ago | (#24683925)

4. How will telework affect collaboration?

IMHO, this is the most thoroughly neglected aspect of telecommuting. Collaborating with people over the phone is hard. You can't look over each other's shoulders as you work, and you can't share a white board. Productivity suffers, big time.

Thing is, there are some technical solutions to these problems. Handy little online meeting tools like WebEx abound. But too many places (including all the places I've every worked) just can't be bothered with them. I'm guessing they don't want the expense of the tools and of training people to use them. Which is darned short-sighted.

this is not teleworking (2, Insightful)

boguslinks (1117203) | about 6 years ago | (#24683929)

this year, Intel began requiring more than half the teleworkers in its IT group to report to the office at least four days a week.

If you're coming to the office four days a week, you're not really a teleworker, are you?

HP Telecommuting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24683981)

HP specifically rescinded telecommuting for IT employees who are required to work onsite at specific IT locations. Other HP employees are not bound by this as it is an IT rule for their people. Now those IT core sites are being consolidated and ITers are being required to move or they 'voluntarily resign' and do not receive severance benefits. Telecommuting is quite common for non-IT HP employees and in some cases is encouraged in order to free up cubicle space.

Re:HP Telecommuting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24684301)

It is interesting that HP's IT chief requires ALL his subordinates to work in the office and move with there job, but he gets to work from Texas rather than California where the other HP top brass work.

telecomute advice from a pro (2, Interesting)

carterson2 (1133379) | about 6 years ago | (#24684005)

I have telecommuted for 9months. You have to visit intelligently. (Before they bitch). Call them often. Laugh often. Never argue. Avoid blaming emails. Don't plan on it lasting forever. When it ends, go back in and offer yourself as 1099 contractor. Tell your peers that you make less money than they do.

It just doesn't really work full time (1)

spoco2 (322835) | about 6 years ago | (#24684027)

I currently do it one day a week, and work better for it, the change of pace, the ability to not have to travel for the one day all works really well. I have some of my best coding days when I work from home.

BUT

You really do need that real facetime with people, and the office environment with your colleagues to keep it all working.

I would say you need AT LEAST 2 days a week in office to make it work.

Unless what you're doing is a real 'package' of work that is self contained and can be done without any real collaboration until you've finished it.

telecommuting (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 6 years ago | (#24684097)

Working from home is only productive, long-term, for persons of a certain personality type. I'm not going to flat-out say "and that type is usually described by a word beginning with "A", ending in "S", and with "SPERGER" in the middle, but for most OTHER people telecommuting just doesn't work as anything other than a short-term option.

Re:telecommuting (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | about 6 years ago | (#24684421)

In my previous job, I telecommuted for a year and a half, and I was a first-line manager at the time. My entire staff was remote anyway (in another city, flying distance; or driving distance if I could spare 3 or 4 days to get there) and I only saw them a couple times a year unless they had to come to LA for something.

When my then-employer was acquired and relocated to another city (again, flying distance, but not much closer to the place my staff were), I declined to take that move and opted for a long-term transition package instead. It was supposed to be 9 months, but they asked me to stay on another 9 because they didn't do dick about finding my replacement during the first 9 months.

I'm pretty far from the "assburgers" type, but telecommuting worked well for me because I had a nice, comfortable dedicated office set up in my house, my computer equipment there was better than what I had at the office in that job, my home office was at the end of the hall and the hall had a door of its own, and my wife kept the kids out of there during the work day. I was very productive in that environment, more than I would have been after the one-way 40-mile commute in LA traffic to where my office was before it moved out of state. Managing my staff was not a problem because they were remote anyway, and communicating with my manager wasn't a problem because, well, IM and email work pretty well for that, at least if you have a decent manager and you're a decent employee. If either end of that relationship is not good, it won't work.

In my current gig I still work from home sometimes (I did it for a couple of months when my wife was sick) even though I only live four miles from my office. I usually go to the office, though, partly because I have a more interactive job than I had before, and partly because my home office setup isn't as good and can't be made as good. It's just the downstairs room in the house and when the kids are upstairs being noisy, it's harder to concentrate. It's also a lot harder for my wife to keep them from opening the door and coming downstairs to talk to daddy whenever they feel like it (they're young enough that "No, I'm working" just doesn't mean much to them).

Bottom line, all it really takes for a person to work from home successfully is a good home office environment, the ability to get things done without your boss watching you over your shoulder, and tasks that mostly don't require face-to-face communication with others. And a manager who can manage that way.

If not for that last one, I think most IT workers could work from home as long as they had a good home office. That last one cuts it down quite a bit.

Telecommuting is fantastic (1)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | about 6 years ago | (#24684125)

I get so much more done working from home, with my fast PC and large monitor, than I do stuck in an office, hunched over a 2005-era laptop and being bothered by inane questions or stupid smalltalk all day long by co-workers.

I don't have to put up with the smell of other people's lunches, I don't have to put up with alpha-male managers sitting on my desk while they discuss their sportscar's superior performance with some idiot who sits behind me.

Humans were not meant to spent eight hours a day in the close proximity of other people. Telecommuting is the future.

Define and measure perfomance (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 6 years ago | (#24684167)

Ummm.. isn't this what managers are supposed to do anyway? In other words, if you have performance objectives in the office, shouldn't they be the same as in telecommuting? In other words, if a manger hasn't defined performance objectives in the first place he/she is a poor manager.

I'm real lucky (1)

MrNougat (927651) | about 6 years ago | (#24684209)

I have a job which allows me to work from home a couple days a week, and add an extra day here and there as the need arises. My commute is an hour and a half each way on the days I do go in to the office. I've found that I'm often more productive at home, because it's a perk I not only don't want to lose, but that I want to expand.

The fact is that anything I can do from the office, I can do anywhere that there's internet access. There have been times when I had to do some after hours work, and I went to a local coffee shop with free wifi. At a previous job, the mail server crashed, the message stores needed to be rebuilt, and I finished the work while I was having lunch with the boss by using my smart phone.

Hell, if I can convince this job to let me work remotely all the time, I might just hook up a broadband wireless card and trade the house for an RV.

Telework aside... (1)

certain death (947081) | about 6 years ago | (#24684227)

Mod -5 pain in the ass for having to click through 4 pages!

near home office (1)

dalesyk (302267) | about 6 years ago | (#24684253)

Companies with downtown offices need to consider satellite office space near suburbs. This would minimize commute time/money/carbon while keeping productivity in check.

Thank you Computerword, Yeah baby!!!! (5, Funny)

satan666 (398241) | about 6 years ago | (#24684263)

Finally, someone is willing to tell the truth about those deadbeat American IT workers!

As we all know, Americans don't want to work.

Yes! All they want to do is stay home and take care of their annoying little brats or work on stupid crap, like having a life.

Well, this country wasn't built on that bunch of shit!

So, Computerword, with their history of protecting corporate and management self-serving interests (and that's a good thing), is on the ball with this fine article.

A brief synopsis:

Fuck you, you lazy motherfucking American IT worker-motherfuckers!

Management wants face time bitch. Don't make me slap you!

You work from home? You're a deadbeat. You're fired. Fuck you!

I am a manager. I get paid to show other managers that I got bitches working for me.

I don't give a fuck what you do at home. That's "home". That's not work.

I need you bitches to be here so when the Indian outsourcing mofo's show up, you can tell them what the deal is.

I am not paying you to have a life, bitch... Fuck you! ...

Also, other recent Computerworld articles you might be interested in:

How to suck your manager's dick.

How to make your manager feel good about firing you.

How to help the outsourcing company get rid of you faster!

Words of wisdom that don't mean dick: "deliverables", "resource", "timeline", "paradigm shift", "bring it to the next level", Use them!!!

How to get ahead by sucking dick and fucking people over.

How to fuck your workers and have them apologize for it.

Back stabbing for dummies

...

All that and much more.

So, let it be known that satan666, of Slashdot, has overwhelmingly endorsed this fine Computerworld article!

Fuck you and goodnight!

Telecommuting FTW (5, Informative)

billcopc (196330) | about 6 years ago | (#24684281)

I'm very pro-telecommuting, but I can understand why it fails for so many people.

Reasons it works for me:

- I'm a developer, and almost all the jobs we see are one-man gigs - it's not a team development kind of company.
- I communicate via email and phone, and rarely attend meetings. I just take the specs and produce the app. Client interaction is very limited, mostly handled by our dedicated sales and support guy (our human shield!)
- I'm self-motivated. If I'm working 9-5, then I'll work 9-5 from home too, and the wife can pretty much pretend I don't exist during those hours.
- I live with the wife, but we have no kids
- I have a ridiculously overpowered workstation, and I know how to use it
- I can focus better with some background music, and the headphone thing just doesn't cut it, compared to my nice speakers
- I actually find the office distracting, since we're all quite rowdy and jocular (think Animal House)
- If a box barfs or panics, I can always hop in a cab and fix it - IF it happens! If it's mission-critical, the appropriate KVM-IP and/or remote-reboot gadgets be acquired.

Turn all of those things around, and you'll get all the reasons why some people can't telecommute. The noise, the distractions, the plentiful opportunities for laziness - some households just aren't suitable for work.

Me, I work all the time. I have private contracts, I build web sites, I produce music - my home is my office. Another little bit that helps is my job is a 10 minute bike or bus ride away, so I don't care about travel time. I telecommute because I like it, and I wish I could do it more because I think I could accomplish more work per week. I'm comfortable at home, no need to buy lunches (not a pack-lunch kinda guy), and since I'm so used to working here, my brain subliminally shifts into high gear - at the office I'm always kinda half-dazed, the environment just doesn't suit me.

One day a week will accomplish nothing. It takes a while to get into the telework mindset, it's a psychosomatic thing - working from home is like trying to change your sleep schedule: the first few days will be chaotic, but over time you get the hang of it and you're back to sleeping/working like you always did.

I could write a book on the topic, but really most of it is just common sense. Make a list of your reasons why you want to telecommute, then make a list of goals or success indicators. If you hesitate while writing either list, then telecommuting is not for you.

Of course it works if you have ethics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24684345)

Geez - I've been telecommuting first part-time for NASA; 3 days at home 2 in the office and now full-time for the past two years as a contractor. The best situation is a mix but it only works if the person doing the "work" and I do mean work and not just butt time in a chair is ethical enough and has enough self-discipline to make it work. Another key aspect is that your work has to be productivity driven and recordable, not just billing hours for sitting at your home desk doing nothing. That's the biggest change in management style b/c most companies are set up to only track hours and not actual productivity.

The best projects have been those that kicked off with face-to-face meetings where all the parties had buy into the project goals. Then everyone could go off and be productive and use regular groupware and other technology (email, irc/chat, filesharing) tools to get that work done. And this was done with the teams being globally distributed (US, Australia, UK, the Netherlands).

It can and does work, the biggest obstacle is a management structure that can't see past having their minions in little cubes looking productive rather than being productive.

Satellite offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24684441)

Something that is being discussed at a major VFX house I work at occasionally, is satellite offices.

These are secondary offices, often single rooms, stuffed with hardware and a big pipe to the central office, located towards one corner of the city, where a significant slice of their staff reside. Their commute is much shorter, and the pipe means they effectively have full access to the main servers and content.

This studio already has a satellite office overseas, so they already have the experience to do local satellites, which have the added benefit of occasional direct face-to-face as needed.

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