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Does Telecommuting Make You Invisible?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the near-enough-sometimes dept.

Businesses 275

jfruhlinger writes "Telecommuting provides many joys, including the ability to stay in your pajamas all day and the chance to work with a cat on your lap. But it does have some major drawbacks, perhaps none so serious as the fact that, if your co-workers are for the most part in an office, they can forget you exist — which means you don't get credit for your work as you deserve."

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Seems to me this is the core of the whole (-1, Offtopic)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204500)

copyright/patent issue. Only methods can be patented, not ideas.

Re:Seems to me this is the core of the whole (0)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204546)

Um... ok.

Re:Seems to me this is the core of the whole (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204584)

wrong story bro.

I think we've been over this before (5, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204510)

But in a word: yes.

Expanded answer (3, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204610)

It depends.

Re:Expanded answer (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204774)

It depends.

Indeed.....for many projects, I think often contract ones with the govt. more and more...EVERYONE on the project for the most part often is working remotely from home.

I'm seeing this more and more often....which is nice.

Unless you are afraid to 'stand up' on the teleconference team meetings...you'll get your share of attention for accomplishments.

Re:Expanded answer (4, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204900)

Not just government, any job which consists of a lot of overseas work (anything in HW engineering, unfortunately). Trying to make times work between US east/west and central time zones, India, china and/or malaysia means telecommuting.

I couldn't pick half my coworkers out of a lineup. I also don't have this "credit" problem, I know who did what based on long chains of emails. My boss knows the same.

I can't say now that I have kids, that I like telecommuting as much as I did before then (or may like once the kids are in school all day), but most of the arguments I hear against it always have the smell of bullshit.

Re:Expanded answer (5, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204960)

There is a reason that the expression 'out of sight, out of mind' came about. And it says it all. In general... in the greatest general terms, it holds true. And in the current context this generality is what applies. People won't think about you if you aren't there... unless of course you don't do your work. And even that isn't a guarantee these days. It is like IT, no one cares if you are there unless something goes wrong. And at those times, if the powers that be can't get to you in a way that is convenient to them, they will find someone who is better able to accommodate them.

We're talking real life real people here, not computer code. The answer here has to appeal to the greatest common denominator, not the least (we don't need to always satisfy the edge case). Just the same as crossing the street. You look both ways because most people won't be able to stop in time if you step right in front of their car [obligatory car analogy satisfied]. So the answer is yes, you are more invisible if you aren't there. You won't be included in quick meetings to solve problems that pop up, you won't get credit for helping get over many critical issues that require personal attention. You will be an invisible work horse. Yes there are exceptions, but not everyone is or can be an exception; just like not everyone can be above average.

Re:Expanded answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205270)

If there are people in the office and you're not it hurts you. Sometimes in little ways like having a lesser voice in teleconferences than when you're in the room and sometimes in major ways like when opportunities come down from upper management and they give the extra work (and recognition) to those they see. It's a trade off but it definitely hurts your upward mobility. That said, if you're a tech guy who doesn't value upward mobility and just wants to get paid for doing good work it's fine. It's the difference between a career and a job in many ways but if I'm working on a career I want to be seen.

Re:I think we've been over this before (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204784)

You can be invisible and still be feared as a malvolent and vengeful god.

Re:I think we've been over this before (2, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205182)

Short answer : "Yes" with an "If", long answer : "No" with a "But"...

There is probably truth to that. (5, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204516)

The question is, does the benefit of working from home offset that? Visibility is important to some, not so much to others. It all depends on your plan or lack of it.

Personally, I think a lack of visibility can only help me!

Re:There is probably truth to that. (5, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204688)

Who do you suppose gets picked come layoff time, the 'C' player who gets seen every day, or the 'B' player who nobody ever sees?

Re:There is probably truth to that. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204752)

That's easy, it's the fuckup that everyone has to deal with every day. The real worry is that you have a B player who gets seen every day and an equally good B player who telecommutes; then the work-from-home guy is screwed.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205002)

Unless the perception is that the 'C' Player is an 'A' Player and the 'B' player is actually an 'F' because he "never does anything".

I knew a few 'D' Players who were treated like they were some sort of bad ass ninjas, just because nobody in charge had any clue how to evaluate them or their work... and the few people who did realize it were less visible and thus got totally ignored.

Ever met a sociopath? You would be shocked at how far just a little charm will take you, especially in the eyes of non-technical people who can't call you on your BS.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (4, Funny)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205044)

You would be shocked at how far just a little charm will take you, especially in the eyes of non-technical people who can't call you on your BS.

I was shocked the first couple times I tried it, but now it's pretty routine.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205008)

Who do you suppose gets picked come layoff time, the 'C' player who gets seen every day, or the 'B' player who nobody ever sees?

With any luck they will forget about you then too...

Re:There is probably truth to that. (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205206)

I wonder if its possible to become so invisible that you really do get forgotten about -- the guy who exists on the payroll DB, gets a paycheck, but doesn't exist otherwise.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (5, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204736)

I was at a company that allowed telecommuting (and in fact promoted it) but never opted to do so (mainly because I don't have a good quiet space to work from home -- kids and all). Marginal and average workers who worked from home were thought of as "goofing off" and having "reduced productivity". Above average workers were thought of as just average. Those that telecommuted but continued to come in to the office three or four days a week (using the hotel cubes) didn't receive this stigma. Those that worked in the office were seen as more productive because they were visible.

So, yeah, they were "invisible"......which doesn't matter except for during key times -- layoffs, raises/promotions, and project assignment (you want the good ones, right?). But, for those that were skating by, being invisible isn't that big of a deal.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (5, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204742)

Until the department manager is asked to name people to downsize, nobody in the room remembers the last useful thing you did, and you don't even hear rumors that you should make the case for yourself, since you don't have lunch with your co-workers.

A lot of important information is exchanged over lunch and coffee.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204944)

Not only that, but you've also proven just how mobile you're job is. They could easily ax your position and outsource it overseas to either the Philippines or Malta. Both seem to be popular these days for software devs and technical support staff.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (4, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205040)

Yup, all the deals and decisions are made in the hallway.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205050)

Until the department manager is asked to name people to downsize, nobody in the room remembers the last useful thing you did, and you don't even hear rumors that you should make the case for yourself, since you don't have lunch with your co-workers.

A lot of important information is exchanged over lunch and coffee.

Problem being, here on Slashdot, the response to that is most likely "Well, if they don't acknowledge your obvious genius (like mine) and sing of your praises every day, then either you need to find a new place to work away from those ungrateful plebs who don't deserve your talents or you're too incompetent at your job anyway and deserve to be fired".

Then, follow that up with a ten-paragraph disjointed rant^H^H^H^H"study" on how much better introverts who never have any human contact outside a computer screen are and how stupid and wrong you are for suggesting that actual human interaction is anything but antiquated in the modern world, complete with snarky remarks about how you must be old/a luddite/a technophobe/Amish, and you've got the hivemind's reaction to your post.

Re:There is probably truth to that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205184)

Strawman arguments are lies.

Exactly (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204838)

If you are trying to climb the corporate ladder, the more "visible" you are the better. You want management to think of you -- and often. Get up and walk around, up and down the hall, make smalltalk (this is crucial), and try to make yourself a permanent icon. Your work performance, dare I say, isn't nearly as important as your social skills.

On the other hand, if you are destined to be stuck in dead-end job for the rest of your life (like me) -- for whatever reason -- then it would be pointless to burden yourself with all of the above. Do the exact opposite. Avoid social contact. Make sure they know you did the job, and then disappear. (The ladder-climbing types will love you for this -- they don't like competition.) Consider your work nothing but a paycheck, and subtract every minute you spend on it from your real life.

Sounds negative, doesn't it? Welcome to the real world.

Only and issue where your contributions (4, Insightful)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204560)

are inconsequential (pretty much moots) or your managers are incompetent.

Re:Only and issue where your contributions (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204608)

or your managers are incompetent.

Mod this up. Being there isn't going to keep the CEO's idiot nephew from grabbing credit for your project.

Sure, it makes you invisible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204574)

Until your do something wrong.

I telecommute but you can avoid this issue (5, Informative)

tirk (655692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204576)

As a telecommuter that lives in Oregon and works for a company in California full time I telecommute from my home office. Taking aside the needed disciplines of staying focused, you need some office protocol disciplines too. For one, we do weekly department head meetings and weekly staff meetings with a video conference set up or at minimum audio conference, and we all talk about what we are working on and what our goals are. This helps everyone know what everyone else is doing. I also send at least one week each email to all the people I've been doing projects that effect them, or need to stay on top and just ask if I've been able to make things work as they expect and if there are any other items they need or would like. This keeps them in contact with me. I also do a weekly meeting with my director and we discuss projects and goals. And finally I try to take at least 6 trips a year to the actual office staying through a week on each of those trips. I usually do more like 9 to 10 trips and sometimes stay a week and a half. I actually hate that part, living out of a hotel room sucks, but it's a small price to pay for having no commute time and being able to work in my pajamas. And you have to sometimes keep pushing for all those meetings and trips as the office will tend to let them slip otherwise. :)

Re:I telecommute but you can avoid this issue (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204818)

I also send at least one week each email to all the people

I bet you also swear to drunk you're not god :-P

Re:I telecommute but you can avoid this issue (3, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204870)

I bet you also swear to drunk you're not god :-P

I resemble that remark!

Re:I telecommute but you can avoid this issue (1)

facetiousprogrammer (966842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205034)

Ok - how do I get a new job telecommuting???

Having a great personality helps too (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204928)

In addition to a good office protocol to include phone conferences and the like having a good personality helps in having people remember you. If your friendly in nature people will remember that and it helps keep you in contact as your more likely to be called/call or communicate in mail or IM.

There are many cues people pick up from even the simplest of communication, it does not hurt to ask people why they don't acknowledge your items if it corrects a problem.

Your anus is always visible though. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204580)

We know you are goofing off on Slashdot, Reddit and reading unfunny XKCD comics.

I don't care. (3, Funny)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204598)

As someone who just made several hundred dollars while lounging around in key west, I can safely say that the trade off is well worth it.

Re:I don't care. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204672)

Prostitution is not an example of "telecommuting". :)

Re:I don't care. (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204726)

No, they were really phoning it in.

Visibility is an issue for all (5, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204600)

At the company I work at we don't have much of the software necessary to track the performance of employees. When I got promoted I got a nice big cube in a corner, away from everyone else. Very soon after getting moved I started getting accused of not being on the phones, not doing my work, blah blah blah. It aggravated me to no end, I was screaming mad about it, but that didn't help.

I did eventually solve my visibility issue.

The solution was chocolate.

I now keep a candy jar in my cube and have let everyone know they can come by my cube at anytime and help themselves. All complaints have ceased.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204660)

My co-worker does the same thing, actually. I never really stopped to think of why, guess that makes sense.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204662)

Candy solves all problems.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204740)

That's what I keep telling my wife, Candy.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204758)

This is not a visibility issue but common bribery. Noone has the heart to complain about someone handing out free chocolate.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204858)

I think the idea is that because of the chocolate people stop by the corner cube and visit. So you gain visiability. You could achieve the same effect by spending 15 min a day visiting all your coworkers.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (4, Insightful)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204874)

If one is able to bribe people using a chocolate bars, perhaps his misdemeanour's aren't so serious...

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204768)

So the message being sent by the office is... whether or not you do your job is less important than whether or not you provide them with chocolate. I suspect this works in many places, and with many groups. Ever ask why you work so hard if its not hard work that pays off....its just people liking you?

This is one of the reasons that I have not fought, not even mentioned, wanting to get my work from home privileges back after they took them away a few years ago. I wasn't doing less at home than here (if anything it was the opposite)... it was just that they have no realistic tracking, no clue, and were poor at managing the workload and keeping track.

I mean, their tracking was so bad, I actually had to stop my boss in the middle of giving me shit to inform him that he was going off about me not being in the office on the day that I was scheduled to not be in the office... and had been consistently one of my home work days for months. Hell when they took my privileges away, one of the justifications was that I didn't answer the phone last friday. I asked, did you try paging me too? of course he says yes.... I checked later, the paging system says nobody had paged me in weeks. .... that was when I realized that management needs a certain level of competence for home work to be viable, and we don't have that.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204906)

The candy jar is a time honored dispute avoidance technique. I'm surprised more people don't utilize it.

Bonus points if you bring in the really good stuff. Fucking 50 DKP Minus if you bring in the 5 cent shit-tier suckers that nobody likes.

Re:Visibility is an issue for all (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205244)

I have to remember that. That was a problem at my previous job. I was moved to the other end of the office to oversee all the developers. I was doing my job handling all the basic decisions and making sure only a few actually had to work its way up management... What happened, my manager got worried and moved his office next to mine to keep a better eye on us. As he felt we weren't doing any work. Because he only stopped by during his lunch break (and ours) where we were either out to lunch of just generally chatting to clear our heads.
I should have just gotten a Candy dish and that way he would stop by at random points during the day when we were working or heads off.

Credit is not everything (2)

Relyx (52619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204612)

Credit is very nice, but at the end of the day it is getting the job done that matters. If you are good at what you do then that will usually be recognised. You will be a valued team member. If for some reason though a company fails to appreciate your efforts and you feel hard done by, then it is time to move elsewhere. They will suffer the consequences in due course, but that is their problem.

Re:Credit is not everything (5, Insightful)

Sam Andreas (894779) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204814)

"Credit is very nice, at the end of the day it is getting the job done that matters"

Maybe to the owners and shareholders but not for anyone else. Having worked under both good and bad managers, and now in a position of leading my own team, I have to say you'd be crazy to ignore this. The worst case is not people leaving your company. The worst case is turning great employees into average employees.

Re:Credit is not everything (0, Flamebait)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204932)

Credit is very nice, but at the end of the day it is getting the job done that matters.

Oh, I assure you, 95% of the time, getting the job done doesn't matter at all, it's who's dick your sucking that really matters. Metaphorically speaking, of course (although I've found it to be quite literal at times).

Make an effort to be visible (4, Insightful)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204632)

I am a telecommuter. I negotiated 80%/20%, i.e. I come into the office 150 miles away once a week. The purpose is to schedule meetings on projects, attend a weekly team meeting, and it gives the opportunity to mingle and see my coworkers.

That arrangement really helps. In addition, I use software that routes my phone extension to my home office (so people don't have to keep my phone# on a post it), I use Yahoo IM for chats, and of course email.

The point is, if you are a telecommuter, make yourself accessible at any time that you would be if you were in the office. If things are quiet for an extended period, make an effort to touch base with your immediate team (speaking from the perspective of a software developer here). Does anyone need me to pitch in on anything? Send a link to a funny or interesting article.

Generally my work is so busy and requires so much collaboration that it creates the necessary visibility, but just be sure you aren't making it difficult to be contacted and embrace the discussions, even mundane ones unless it gets out of hand.

In software dev, also have your screen ready to share for discussion (myriad of choices). I find that helps to collaborate and be more visible to my colleagues.

Multiply your invisibility... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204652)

Invisibility is great when you can telecommute to two or more different jobs where you are invisible, yet still paid. It's important to find inefficient large companies where managers are more interested in having headcount than great productivity. Then you can just invisible along at your multiple jobs.

On call? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204654)

WTF? I'm not invisible when I'm on call at 2am. Doesn't even make sense. By that logic when I'm on call I should just shut off the ringer and get a good nights sleep, after all, supposedly that's invisible.

Gov't: As if I got credit before. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204656)

I used to drive 3+ hours a day to 'be in the office' with my peers. I'd work extra to bring improvements for the team to fruition, since we weren't allowed to do them as part of 'work'. I didn't get credit then, so I couldn't get less credit from home. After I told them I'd be in the office one day a week, I still only had interaction with my peers one out of three days in the office. My employer has a terrible track record for recognition. My congratulations on 10 years of employment: was an email sent almost a year late.

If you like having no creative input, if you enjoy toiling in obscurity, if you enjoy petty bosses who poo-poo your ideas only to bring them up as their own 6 months later, work for the government.

--
Don't get me wrong: I know interaction is a two way street. I used to put in the effort to be TEAM oriented. Unfortunately, the team doesn't actually work together (we each get our own projects) so the effort was unrecognized and wasted.

if only.. (1)

jmb1990 (1979110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204658)

If i could work from home every day i wouldn't care about who got the credit for my work.

Rules/tips (3, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204664)

I work from home every now and then (more often, recently). Last year, I wrote my own rules for working from home [cad.cx] . Are there any other solid ones I should include?

DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN PARENT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204704)

.cx = goatse

Re:DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN PARENT (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205108)

Actually it's the national TLD for the Christmas Islands (where the bungee-jumping tribes are)...I'm trying to confirm the goasecifity of it now but it looks like it's getting Slashdotted.

Clearly... (1)

yorgo (595005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204674)

...or not so, the "Businesses" icon attached to this story is a telecommuter.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204694)

Most of my co-workers are in Manila, Mumbai and Buenos Aires... I'm mean really who in their right mind would want to live in Tulsa, OK or Des Moines IA?!?!?

Re:Nope (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205092)

Most of my co-workers are in Manila, Mumbai and Buenos Aires... I'm mean really who in their right mind would want to live in Tulsa, OK or Des Moines IA?!?!?

mein nehi janata

WTF? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204706)

If telecommuting means you're not interacting with co-workers and being 'seen', then yes, you might become invisible and/or deemed irrelevant. It also might mean you are.

Both my wife and I work from home lately, as the contract I work on is across country and her job went to telecommute-only a couple of years ago. I'm in conference calls, email threads, planning meetings, and all sorts of things all the time. My wife is on the phone a good chunk of the day as well as countless emails and IMs with people.

If you are doing your job in a corner, never interacting with people, and it becomes possible that people forget you exist ... well, maybe that's not the fault of telecommuting. I've worked in offices where there are people who nobody really knows what they do, who they report to, or what their role is -- it's possible to be invisible in the office too, and in my experience if nobody knows who you are and what you do then maybe you're just putting in time and waiting until someone realizes they don't know what they pay you for.

Not saying telecommuting is for everyone, or that it fixes everything ... but I've been doing it for over a year, and it's not like anybody on the project I'm working on doesn't know who I am. They may have only met me face to face a handful of times ... but between email and phone calls, I'm hardly invisible. Quite the opposite, in fact since I was kind of the technical lead.

What kind of job can you even be doing that doesn't call for interaction with your co-workers? If you're regularly doing the kinds of things that normal people do, there's no reason for you to disappear as a teleworker.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204892)

As you said, people working on YOUR project know who you are and what you do. People working on other projects, that you might prefer, don't see or hear from you, and therefore you have some missed opportunities. But if what you're doing is what you like, stick with it.

Re:WTF? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205100)

See, I'm on contract.

The guy I report to I interact with all the time either in conference calls or emails. If he wanted me on another project, he'd tell me. As things come up that require my input, he does, in fact.

When I'm in town for meetings (or because we have a big push and need everyone in the same place) ... I meet and interact with all of the people I usually interact via the phone or email, specifically to make sure we keep a personal connection as well. Coffee or lunch or even dinner go a long way to keeping a good working relationship.

So, as a consultant, there's not a whole lot of room for me to be looking at other projects ... and my relationship with the client is more predicated on me doing the actual job well.

I do know what you mean about moving around within an organization in terms of being visible, but I find that in the projects I work on I end up with interacting with people from several different departments on a pretty constant basis. I'd also like to think I do with without pissing off or alienating those people, which hopefully means people are interested in keeping me around.

But it will average out. (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204708)

Yeah, you won't get credit for good work, but you would get more than the fair share of the blame when things go wrong, and in the end it will average out. Wait. There seems to be catch here somewhere.

Re:But it will average out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204876)

Whatever you say fanboi.
 
Tell me, how do you telecommute your pizza delivery job?

Is that a cat on your lap? (1, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204746)

Perhaps somebody who works from home used a euphemism you aren't familiar with?

Many people dream of working from home; but I don't know anybody who dreams of working in an office. I wonder why.

Re:Is that a cat on your lap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205260)

I currently work from home and dream of working in an office.

Our office was dissolved but the group kept in tact. Tools like the phone, video conferencing, IM, etc. are no replacement for face-to-face human interactions. Brainstorming sessions are no longer impromptu, "pickup games" of who's around/free; now they require us to pick a time/location far enough in the future that we're all (or a quorum is) free from the inevitable spousal/parental responsibilities we were once shielded from.

The first few months were great, but now I long to be colocated with my coworkers and even my manager. Maybe if we had better management (more communicative), things would be different.

My .02 (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204782)

I honestly think "visibility" becomes a moot point when you work from home. If you have the good fortune to be able to work from home, I think you are doing it precisely because invisibility from the office scene is what you seek. I wouldn't really care about promotion or getting all the credit if I had that wonderful perk available to me. I have a friend that works from home and he continues to get recognition for what he does but he doesn't care. The reward is in the ability to work from home.

Invisibility is awesome! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204786)

Telecommuters are definitely invisible. I can go to work naked and no one ever says anything about it!

Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (3, Insightful)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204790)

Ive been working remotely most of the time since 1998.

When does the boss take me out to lunch with the team? Never.

A beer after work on Fridays? Nope.

Project tshirts? Nada.

Don't think telecommuting is paradise. It's not.

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (5, Insightful)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204842)

I've worked in the (same) office since 1997 and I don't get lunch, beers, or t-shirts either.

I do, however, get to sit in traffic for 40 to 60 minutes a day.

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204998)

Advantage: SirWhoopass

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205164)

Only 40 to 60 minutes? Lucky bastard...

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204916)

This has to be reverse psychology.

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204946)

Really!? I hate the office! Working from home is the best of both worlds between being your own businessman and a guaranteed paycheck that working as an employee of a company provides.

Re:Telecommuting sucks the infinite Wang (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205288)

You are disillusioned if you think anyone get's lunch, beer and t-shirts.
Project t-shrits... I have not even HEARD of those cince 1998, everyone has went to, "new project today! everyone line up for a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!"

And remember everyone, Management thinks you all are a waste of money! we ship when it compiles!

I live in a box, I'm already invisible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204826)

Seriously, no one sees me when I'm here as it is, why would anyone notice if I'm at home (or Tahiti for that matter) as long as stuff they ask me to do gets done?

In the office too (1, Funny)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204828)

You can be forgotton in the office as well! Wasn't there a news article a while back where an office worked died in the office , and wasn't noticed for several days.

Re:In the office too (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204966)

It was urban legend and featured on the Discovery Channel's Urban Legend show.

Re:In the office too (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205154)

You can be forgotton in the office as well! Wasn't there a news article a while back where an office worked died in the office , and wasn't noticed for several days.

When i worked for an Italian company (olivetti) they forgot about a whole development team. They spend six months programming a computer range that had been cancelled.

It has been said before here on Slashdot (5, Insightful)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204938)

If you can telecommute to work, so can someone else in another country who will do your job for cheaper.

Sign and date everything (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204942)

Put your fingerprints all over everything you do and the accusations of invisibility will disappear. No one can argue that you're not pulling your weight if you have documentation and change logs with your name all over them.

Depends on the culture of the organization (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204952)

If telecommuting is common in the company, then visibility is hardly a concern. People in the hierarchy get trained to look for results, not presence.

If you are the only person who is remote, then it can present more of an issue.

Re:Depends on the culture of the organization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205250)

People in the hierarchy get into the hierarchy by presence, not results.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

Re:Depends on the culture of the organization (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205272)

The company I work for has offices scattered all over the country even when I am in the office 100% of the people I interact with are still not face to face. Sometimes they ask if I'm in the office or at home cause they know I work from home about 80% of the time.

So go in once or twice a week. . . (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205000)

Seriously, the solution seems obvious. Telecommute some days (if you're allowed to), but make an appearance at least once a week, have lunch and/or meetings with with people (especially your boss) to keep you in the loop, and keep you and your work visible to them.

From experience... (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205036)

I've been working at home 80% of the time for the past couple of years. While I've been able to get a great deal of quality work done, and the company has a very distributed workforce (thus there is a great infrastructure for people working from home or elsewhere/anywhere), you learn over time that working from home isn't as great as it sounds... Yes, I don't have to use an alarm clock. Yes, I can work in my pajamas and shower at lunchtime... But I also miss out on a lot of the design/architecture discussions that take place ramdomly throughout the day. There's also a mental factor - there's no satisfaction to "getting home" after a long day of work. As crazy as that sounds, when my work day is done I get up from my office room and utilize the rest of the house, but sometimes it feels as though a human being NEEDS the horrible commute and discomfort during the daytime to actually appreciate the rest of the day.

I have an office but work from home. (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205046)

I have an office and yes I work from home. My office is 67 miles from my home so in the end it saves me a lot of money to only go into the office once a week. As for visibility I see people when I am in the office and socialize at the water cooler but don't work directly with any of them. I guess it all comes down to the structure of the enterprise you work in. Supporting applications for an enterprise where 100% of your users are scattered in offices across the country really doesn't give you an opportunity to shake a lot of hands.

It's True (4, Insightful)

gorfie (700458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205082)

I've telecommuted before, one day a week, and I found that my presence as a valuable employee was diminished. Things would happen at the office that I couldn't be a part of. My contributions to the team were less evident - especially that immeasurable contribution you make when you participate in discussions and help your peers. If you are competing with your peers for advancement (or simply to keep your job) then you shouldn't be working from home. If you are satisfied with your current role and pay rate, then it's a good deal.

that's why people telecommute? (2)

jmizrahi (1409493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205090)

Telecommuting provides many joys, including the ability to stay in your pajamas all day and the chance to work with a cat on your lap.

Does anyone else find the two listed "perks" of telecommuting extremely unappealing?

Re:that's why people telecommute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205222)

You need some better pajamas if you find the ability to stay in them all day unappealing.

I telecommute for the past 7 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205114)

I telecommute full time for my job which I enjoy working for the past 7 years. Mainly because the work is challenging. I work from home because of geography not because of lifestyle. Anyone who seriously works from home will tell you the biggest CON is not dealing with people in person (feels isolating after a while) and staying in that home office chair all day long.

The key is to plan periodic visits so that everyone knows you are alive and contributing. Otherwise over time people get the opinion "what do you do?" and you will not just be invisible... you could get fired. Having to show in a casual way that you are bringing in money for the group (in a contract, or some application) works too. In the tech industry many people work hard and seeing someone work from home has a negative connotation that is not easy to overcome if you don't so periodic visits, show value to the group, or stay in constant contact.

Like others have said you have to be disciplined to wake-up, put in the hours, and take it seriously since it is work after all. We use instant messaging to say where you are and what your doing. That has a big positive psychological effect. Phone calls and video chat help a lot too. No, there are no pajamas with coffee mornings, the moment you're on a conference call and someone wants to do video, it will be so awkward to reject, you'll know why you get dressed to work at home.

Telecommuting works for our company very well and I think it is mutually beneficial.

I telecommute ... (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205118)

so that I can forget my co-workers exist.

Visibility is easy, staying human is difficult (2)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205144)

In my experience, if you show up on e-mail lists and teleconferences, you are considered active, but "inhuman" in the sense that people no longer have idea on what *exactly* are you doing, what's your supposed workload, and so on. So instead of human resource, you become just a resource, a gray eminence that lives only in electronic form.

I have been at a new job, primarily doing it remotely when possible for half a year now, and typically my only on-site jaunts will be to customer premises. As such, I'm not too often at the office.

Solution: HD-level videoconferencing. Since I can partake in meetings with 50" screens at the office end, my presence is not only felt, but it's rather imposing :). (My home has smaller, desktop videophone). The HD quality *is* necessary - if you appear as bunch of DCT blocks used by older systems, the effect is not much beyond normal (voice) teleconference.

Anyway, consider possibilities of video for remote participation.

And that is an advantage... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205180)

A buddy of mine has been "invisible" for 5 years and skipped all the downsizing. His direct report was let go and he still get's a check every 2 weeks. he has no idea who he is supposed to report to for the past 18 months, and had heard NOTHING from the main office, so he simply does his job and collects the checks. the company cellphone and VPN accounts still work, and HR still is paying him and covering insurance.

Being invisible is a good thing at times.

Re:And that is an advantage... (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205226)

At least until they "fix the problem". I hope they don't mess with his red stapler.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205196)

I've telecommuted for IBM for over 3 years. Lots of benefits but the biggest negative seems diminished job growth (as if it wasn't hard enough at IBM).

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205198)

Do we really need to revisit the following?
1) out of sight = out of mind
2) anything that can be done remotely can be outsourced / commoditized

Why is this newsworthy again? Has something changed in the last 15 years?

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