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One Third of Telcom Staff More Productive Working From Home

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the keep-the-pjs-on dept.

Businesses 109

Qedward writes "British telecoms operator O2 has found that 88% of its staff are just as productive working remotely, while one-third claimed that they actually got more work done when they worked from home. 3,000 employees at O2's head office took part in a program that had them to work from home for one day, as practice for problems that may occur during the Olympic Games. From the article: '“The success of O2’s experiment extends much further than just allowing some of the workforce to stay at home and work. It proves that with the right thinking and planning, even the largest organizations can protect themselves from the most severe disruptions to their business,” said Ben Dowd, business director at O2.'"

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Keep the pjs on? (2)

Johnny Mister (2610721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578461)

from the keep-the-pjs-on dept.

Wait, what? Why would anyone wear clothes at their own home? It's much nicer to be naked. And no, that you have a significant other to care about isn't a valid answer. None of my hot girlfriends have ever had problems with me being nude around them, and I'm a quite fat guy too.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578579)

None of my hot girlfriends have ever had problems with me being nude around them

That's because your sample size is zero.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Johnny Mister (2610721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578621)

None of my hot girlfriends have ever had problems with me being nude around them

That's because your sample size is zero.

No, I am serious. If you are dating someone and even had sex with him/her, why the hell can't you be naked around each other? Or do you have sex in the dark too, under the pillows?

Re:Keep the pjs on? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578687)

I wasn't suggesting that you can't be nude around your significant other. I was suggesting that you, as a slashdotter, have not had a hot girlfriend :-p

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

meowris (1988866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583321)

A HUGE LIE!

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579041)

Being naked feels like being in the car without a seatbelt; It's just wrong. I don't like feeling the texture of the chair on my ass any more than I like the feeling of crumbs on the floor when I'm barefoot. I don't understand how being naked could even be slightly relaxing ... even alone.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579229)

Being naked feels like being in the car without a seatbelt; It's just wrong.

Weird. You'd have made one lousy Australopithecus.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579251)

No shit, I'm not keen on the idea of hanging out at people's houses if their asshole is touching everything they sit on and their dick is bouncing off the flower vases and cabinets... And their GF's STD ridden cunt is touching everything...

Being naked sucks anyway, over-rated

Re:Keep the pjs on? (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579087)

See the Seinfeld episode about "good naked" versus "bad naked".

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578627)

Hmm... weird. I telecommuted for almost 2 years and I still liked to wear SOME clothes - as in a shirt and shorts, usually. If it was cold I might through on some "lounge pants" to keep my legs warm. Even if I didn't have the wifey and kids around I'd probably still generally want to wear some clothes.

That said, I get it that some people just like/prefer being nakey.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578673)

Some people live in cold climates.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Johnny Mister (2610721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578741)

Some people live in cold climates.

They also live outside?

Re:Keep the pjs on? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578777)

I wear clothes instead of turning the heating on. I may be poor....

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578817)

Problem with being naked is the risks of dangley bits getting snagged on things and/or of staining the furniture (a hot sweaty arse on a fabric couch isn't a good mix :)

Re:Keep the pjs on? (5, Funny)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579019)

... or a young and playful pet cat thinking that one's dangley bits look like cool toys and lunge for them while one is standing at the kitchen counter making one's own breakfast.

For reference, speaking from experience here, it's approximately as uncomfortable as it sounds.... and also something that one's significant other is liable to keep laughing at you over for about a week.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579099)

Only a week?! You lucky bastard...

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579517)

... or a young and playful pet cat thinking that one's dangley bits look like cool toys and lunge for them while one is standing at the kitchen counter making one's own breakfast.

I just have to say, you people are especially sick today. Dangly bits and cat claws?!? Yuck. Ya know, if you grab it by the head and flick quickly, that problem disappears forever. Until you get another cat.

Dogs don't do that sort of !@#$, btw.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39580099)

Dogs don't do that sort of !@#$, btw.

I wouldn't be be so sure. I know a guy who claims his dog gave his junk a taste while he was asleep in bed. He woke up like a shot and was completely grossed out.

Pets are strange.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (2)

Ignacio (1465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580599)

grab it by the head and flick quickly

...

I can't see that being any more comfortable for my dangly bits than the claws...

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581429)

grab it by the head and flick quickly ...

I can't see that being any more comfortable for my dangly bits than the claws...

Really? Cat claws anywhere near your dangly bits? That's close to the last thing I'd want in life. Sorry for my lack of specificity. Grab *the cat* by the head, ...

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582389)

Which is why naturists consider it etiquette to carry around a towel to put down on a chair before they sit down. Comes in very useful if the Earth is about to be demolished too.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578917)

How about because one has a significant other who actually dislikes always having the blinds closed?

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579617)

How about because one has a significant other who actually dislikes always having the blinds closed?

There are plenty of window treatments that are essentialy "one-way" during daylight hours - they let in ~50% of the light and you can see outside but its basically impossible for people to see inside because the sun is so much brighter than any light source inside the building. At night it goes the other way and you can't see outside but everybody can see inside, but that's when you pull down the regular blinds.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579809)

Man, you must REALLY HATE sleep pants to buy special windows just so that you don't have to wear them.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39580015)

Uh "window treatments" is a fancy term for curtains, drapes, blinds, shades, etc.
You can buy $10 gauzy curtains that do eactly what he said.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581461)

How about because one has a significant other who actually dislikes always having the blinds closed?

Yeah? So? Tell 'em your a nudist and it's natural. Everybody likes that crap these days.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581495)

Having the blinds closed and blacked out with quilts duct-taped to the wall is part of dating a Slashdotter.

Now if she complains about the refrigeration coils on the walls, just tell her it's so the snipers can't spot you on thermal shoot through the wall with armor-piercing rounds. THAT'LL show her.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579135)

Because it gets awkward buying girl scout cookies.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579277)

Yeah - nowhere to put the change

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

Johnny Mister (2610721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579335)

Yeah - nowhere to put the change

People usually have their own pocket which is more than suitable for keeping the change. Most people empty it in the toilet, but you can pretty much do it anywhere.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581603)

Yeah - nowhere to put the change

"Keep the change, kid."

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579175)

I did not need to know any of this. Condolences to your girlfriends, or maybe they're just as obese as you?

Re:Keep the pjs on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582371)

This is the UK. After a nice heatwave last week (the 3rd hottest March on record) we're now getting covered in snow again! Brrrrr! I prefer my balls not to be growing icicles while I sit around at home, thank you very much.

Re:Keep the pjs on? (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582413)

from the keep-the-pjs-on dept.

Wait, what? Why would anyone wear clothes at their own home? It's much nicer to be naked. And no, that you have a significant other to care about isn't a valid answer. None of my hot girlfriends have ever had problems with me being nude around them, and I'm a quite fat guy too.

I'm in my dressing gown on the sofa right now because it's cold.

"Telecommuting" still taboo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578525)

Managers badmouth telecommuting because it more or less proves what we've known all along. Most managers are useless, redundant, wastes of space that spend more time putting on a show to justify their own existence than they do conducting actual management.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578623)

Managers do serve some purpose. Where I work we haven't had one for over a year now - resulting in us having to put up with all of the political bullshit that goes on in the organisation and also getting rail-roaded despite objections to the idiotic ideas coming down from the Cxx types. Managers also sign off on budgets, performance reviews, salary reviews, etc., so guess what else hasn't been happening? Pretty soon our organisation will come down to give us more work and find nobody there because we're all slowly getting jobs elsewhere.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578947)

That's why I said most. You need one good manager. Not 10 bad ones.
I stand by my statement that /most/ managers in American business culture are redundant.

Unfortunately bad management is often a self-perpetuating malignancy. Those with power aren't going to eliminate their own positions under any circumstances.

Unfortunately I envision the future of American business as feedback loop of middle managers, un-trackable N'th layer outsource subcontracts, and HR departments. Eventually the last actual producer will be eliminated, and all companies will suddenly collapse as they unknowingly try to subcontract services, supplies, and products from themselves.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (2)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581477)

There was an episode of dilbert where The Company outsourced their call center to themselves.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579329)

Sounds to me like you need to get rid of the idiotic Cxx types...

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580133)

How do you fire your boss?

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581055)

creative Photoshopping

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582703)

resulting in us having to put up with all of the political bullshit that goes on

Most of it goes on because of managers. Granted, in that game, if you're the only group without one, you are disadvantaged.

Yes, managers have their place. However, theirs is a job that is stuck in the 18th century. Much of it should be handled by specialists or group consensus. It is high time that we redefine the job of management, but of course that won't happen anytime soon because it would be managers who'd have to introduce the new concepts... ...and it would turn out that most of them should be let go because they don't have any relevant skills.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (5, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579059)

They're not all totally useless. I accidentally became one for a while and didn't realize it until a friend pointed it out. I griped that I'd been busting my ass all week juggling work schedules, project priorities, placating clients, liaising between subcontractors and government agencies, ensuring that my group had enough work to keep them busy, handling exceptions, training, etc. but I hadn't produced anything. "Dude, you're a manger."

A good manager does the annoying crap that's necessary to keep his/her group running smoothly.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579285)

A manger!? Here!? We don't take too kindly to your types around here...

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579453)

Sounds like you're a good manager. You help people do their jobs.

Of course, in the eyes of "real" management you're a nobody.
You didn't frat party your way through college while getting a barely above high school level buisness degree.
You don't spend most of your time shmoozing, brownosing, attending endless meetings, backstabbing,demanding perfection in TPS report covers, or fudging useless metrics to make yourself look good

"Real" Managers are graded and paid according to these things. You're doing all the work and someone above you is taking home the check. Get with the picture.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580253)

A 'bad' manager does the annoying crap. A good manager enjoys the varied trouble shooting they do every day, dealing with problem clients, calming upset employees, reorientating upper managements ideas into something workable and basically planing ahead sufficiently well to make themselves redundant (others always create problems to make that goal impossible).

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581511)

The ideal is to work out a system so efficient (but so elaborately complex) that the company runs really well... but if they fire you and try to replace you with some MBA fresh out of college it all goes in the shitter.

"What the hell does 1-3PM MBA TABS mean?! I HAVE NO IDEA!"

After a couple days of the new guy crying in a bathroom stall and repeating "Productivity is down! Productivity is down!" like a rape victim, you'll be re-hired before you know it.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583533)

I didn't want to manage anyone. I wanted to quit but was the only person in the company capable of performing a boring job required by a significant percentage of the projects that came through the company. I claimed I wanted to take a vacation so they gave me some part-timers who needed more hours to train up to cover my job while I was gone. I thought my job couldn't suck more but then I started managing people doing the job I wanted to quit. So, yeah, I considered it to be annoying crap. :)

But it did give me an appreciation for management and an understanding of the role managers are supposed to play.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (1)

defcon-11 (2181232) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581049)

I've tried working remotely, and without people to talk to or get distracted by I end up taking fewer breaks and working longer hours. I'm probably more productive at home, but I could never do it for an extended period of time, because I end up stressed and burnt out. I'm sure other people are different, but my recommendation is that if you're thinking about working remotely you should try it for a couple of weeks before committing.

Re:"Telecommuting" still taboo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39581721)

Having spent the last 6 years as a mid-level manager, I firmly believe you are 1000% on the mark (exaggeration, something sought and respected in the 'Managerial Pool' - sometimes referred to as a cesspool.. but that is a topic for another day).

To bring this back on topic, having also telecommuted the majority of my non-management career, the findings are of no surprise to me. People who don't spend 25% of the day playing office games, produce more quality work.

The bosses would hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578581)

The big bosses wouldn't mind, but the middle-management types would hate this. They can't go on a power trip by bitching people out on a daily basis if they aren't in person. On the other hand, its why I started my own home based business. I don't need the 'pep talk' to get work done, and can get a lot done from home. Better yet, all the perks the boss used to get, I get.

One whole day. (5, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578605)

Seriously, what is one day? The novelty of working from home would wear off after about a week and then what? I know what. You'd find me 'working' in my underwear, covered in fried chicken with several empty margarita glasses about me. My e-mails would show a very noticeable trend in typos from about noon onward...

Re:One whole day. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578807)

Before people jump on me for thinking this is a bad idea please just keep in mind that I'm only focused on the fact that their 'study' lasted a single day.

Re:One whole day. (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578853)

I thought of the one day effect too, but if you're going to drink at home while working, keep your work typo free! It's an honor code.

Illustrative xkcd
http://xkcd.com/323/ [xkcd.com]

Re:One whole day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579001)

If your more productive working drunk, in your underwear, nude or whatever, you should work from home. The truth (at least in my experience) is that most homeworkers do discipline themselves and manage their time better.

The time saved by not commuting has made a huge improvement to my quality of life, health (I now jog 2 times a week) and general wellbeing.

Re:One whole day. (1)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580745)

I work from home and have been for a while. The novelty does wear off but the lack of interruptions does not.

They'd be cheaper... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578619)

if they were working from their homes in India.

Reduces pollution too (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578753)

Keeping workers at home saves ~10 gallons of gas per person per week. Which is 200 fewer pounds per person per week of CO2.

Re:Reduces pollution too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579067)

How can burning ~70 pounds of gas produce 200 pounds of CO2?

Re:Reduces pollution too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579253)

Burning gasoline reacts with atmospheric oxygen to produce CO2.

Re:Reduces pollution too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579375)

Through the magic of environmental science.
Also, unicorns.

Re:Reduces pollution too (4, Informative)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579589)

From Wikipedia: 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 -> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O
Carbon is about 12 standard atomic weights, hydrogen about 1 and oxygen about 16, so 228 atomic weights of gasoline and 800 atomic weights of oxygen results in 704 atomic weights of CO2 and 324 atomic weights of water. Sounds about right to me when you take into account a few additives to the gasoline.

(IAMNAC)

Re:Reduces pollution too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579371)

Not if you commute 60 miles each way. Even in a Prius, that's 12 gallons/week.

makes sense (2)

ozduo (2043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578773)

the more time they goof off at home the less mistakes they make

Companies are starting to listen (5, Interesting)

wynterwynd (265580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578779)

I work in first-line management for a major telecom and this idea is really starting to take hold. And it's everything I imagined it would be.

If you aren't directly managing employees and/or it isn't necessary for you to have physical access to equipment, there is no reason why working from home won't work. My boss and all my team are scattered all over the country, we've never met each other face to face. All my meetings are over the phone and via web conference. Nothing requires that I be anywhere near an office, just that I have a quiet place with telephone and high-speed internet access.

We recently switched to allowing telecommuting 2-3 days a week. And let me tell you, it is Glorious. Those 2-3 days are the most productive ones I have, maybe because I'm comfortable and able to clearly think through issues, instead of being constantly interrupted by the asshole across the cube farm's ringtone or the loudmouth Sales guy on a call next cube over or a million other irritations at the office. And as far as the time-worn fears of slacking are concerned, honestly I have too much to do to slack off - any supervising manager would be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not their subordinates are abusing the privilege.

Now, this clearly won't work for everyone for obvious reasons - IT support staff, hardware maintenance, client/customer support, supervising managers; you can't really cash in on this goodness. But if you don't deal with face-to-face interactions and your work is mostly conducted electronically, there's no reason not to - that is, as long as you can easily get to the office should the need come up or should your environment prove disruptive.

Some people do abuse the shit out of it - I wanted to strangle the lady who was watching her kids while hosting a call; the kid was yelling and she was goo-goo talking to him and it was just grossly unprofessional. But most people who've been working from home have been extremely professional about it - in fact I usually never know who's at home and who's in the office.

I'm glad to see stories like this - telecommuting has taken tons of stress/aggravation out of my work week and it's had an unfair reputation pinned to it by traditional managers who think it's just too good to be true.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578925)

Unfortunately most managers still think if they cannot see you, you are not working. Yet here I am, in full view of management, goofing off on /.

The only way I get to work from home is if I am "sick", so my old "stomach problems" come back every now and then. And I get WAY more work done on those days. But the management still doesn't get a clue.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581367)

But the point is you shouldnt need to use sick leave or go unpaid in order to 'work better'

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

Casca1 (656425) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579133)

Actually, I work Telephone Technical support for a large Computer business, and am full time work from home. I have been doing this for almost two years and have to say, it's the best job I have ever had.
AND, they pay me well. You betcha I am productive. Very motivated, the job is most probably a once in a lifetime.
I meet with my manager and lead regularly electronically, and we will occasionally meet in person. Because of the interconnectedness of our workflow process and comms, we easily maintain full contact, almost as good as onsite.
Repeat, Best job ever.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

RubberMallet (2499906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582407)

I had a very well paid home office job for little over 5 years, and loved it. I was productive, enjoyed the job, got all my targets met on time etc etc. I really worked at it to make sure it wasn't taken away for any reason (that could be attributed to me).... and then along came a bigger company that bought out the big company I worked for. Within 6 months after the buyout deal was finalized, the bigger company gutted and butchered the company I worked for, cancelled all the projects, and basically ran amuck. The result... 100% layoffs in the division I worked in... and my sweet job went with it :-(

Re:Companies are starting to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579325)

Ironically enough, O2 Ireland announced today that they're laying off 11% of their Irish workforce. [irishtimes.com]

Re:Companies are starting to listen (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579553)

If you aren't directly managing employees and/or it isn't necessary for you to have physical access to equipment, there is no reason why working from home won't work.

If the people you're supposed to manage aren't at the office either, it hardly matters.

And as far as the time-worn fears of slacking are concerned, honestly I have too much to do to slack off - any supervising manager would be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not their subordinates are abusing the privilege.

Just wait until there's a quiet period, you'd be surprised how quickly you get used to not working a full day and/or being able to do everything else in between work. Sure if I was grossly slacking my manager would notice but I've never had a boss yet who knew exactly how hard the assignment he gave me was and even if he did, there's a good variance on whether I've done something similar/exactly like this before and any ad hoc issues that might turn up. Hell, even the same person in the same job changes over time when new versions come that make everything easier or harder. Maybe if I was consistently on the poorer side of his estimates over time, but I'd just as easily wager his expectations would be lowered instead. The effect is less if you're at the office during business hours whether there's much work or not.

Also there's another effect I've seen, it's cramming as much work as possible into your working days which obviously impacts quality to do as little as possible during your days at home, sending out yesterday's work as today's. The derogatory term for it here in Norway is "gjemmekontor" instead of "hjemmekontor" - literally translated "hiding office" instead of "home office". Oh sure they usually can't be completely unreachable as that would give it away but they're always conveniently running a quick errand or was putting on a washing machine or some other reason for not answering right away. Of course people do some minor personal stuff at work too, but not all day long. Okay so people don't do it during crunch time but it's a way to get "days off" without taking the financial penalty during normal times.

You don't have to be a slacker to see how the slackers exploit the system. Some people are simply there that they want to deliver an adequate to below average work performance knowing they get an okay pay with a minimum of effort and yet aren't so horrible they'll get fired. And if they put that cleverness into doing their jobs instead of working the system, they'd be very good employees but they don't find there's enough incentive. It's actually very hard to find out whether your employees are really working their best or not. Of course slackers slack at work too, but it's not that enticing there.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581517)

This is gonna sound like a weird question, but are you required by law to take a lunch break when you telecommute?

I know it depends on the area, but I really hate the "mandatory" lunch breaks. I'd rather skip lunch and be home 30-60 minutes earlier. I know the law is in there to protect us, but I'd really like to be able to opt-out.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583157)

This is gonna sound like a weird question, but are you required by law to take a lunch break when you telecommute?

Your jurisdiction may vary, but technically probably yes. At least here in Norway I couldn't find any exception for telecommuting, so normal rules apply. Though I've never had a practical problem with working through lunch and leaving half an hour early either at work or when telecommuting.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582911)

This is why Verizon implemented a system that takes random web cam shots of it's work from home staff to ensure they're at their desk. Slashdot reported on it a while back. It's apparently worked wonders for productivity. Employee morale, however?

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

alcourt (198386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579573)

I was thinking you were one of the managers I work with everyday until you said IT can't really take advantage of it. Your datacenter is probably manned only by a few people, and when your application's servers go down, they just call in a contractor who is asked to please turn the lights back off when they're done. Even the IT folks have never touched the hardware for the most part.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

patchmaster (463431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580607)

We recently switched to allowing telecommuting 2-3 days a week. And let me tell you, it is Glorious. Those 2-3 days are the most productive ones I have, maybe because I'm comfortable and able to clearly think through issues, instead of being constantly interrupted by the asshole across the cube farm's ringtone or the loudmouth Sales guy on a call next cube over or a million other irritations at the office. And as far as the time-worn fears of slacking are concerned, honestly I have too much to do to slack off - any supervising manager would be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not their subordinates are abusing the privilege.

You're scratching at one of my pet peeves. Businesses hire (some) people for the express purpose of using their brains then put them in situations least conducive to that pursuit. A year ago the company I'm contracting at had a two-day conference where everyone in the department attended except me. I got more done in those two days on difficult tasks than I would have in several weeks' worth of normal days. No phones ringing. No copier beeping its head off. No hallway conversations. No co-workers dropping by to ask questions and interrupt my train of thought. I had no idea how disruptive to the thought process the normal cubicle work environment is until I spent those two days in what was effectively my own private office space.

If the home environment can be kept free of the distractions that are so common in the typical work place there is little doubt that those needing to make good use of their gray matter could easily be more productive at home.

IT support (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580885)

I work in an IT support function at the current customer. Basically, it's the classical ISP "mission control" role. Since we moved buildings last summer, we were put in "flex working spaces" which means 70% of our staff gets a seat, anywhere in the building, no longer access to our own equipment and laptop computers to accommodate the fact that we don't have our own desks anymore. Also, we're supposed to deal with that by working from home two days a week. Nobody even got a company cell phone.

Your "IT support" exception doesn't seem to have landed at a lot of work places, since I hear about stuff like this a lot. Maybe you and others should advocate it a bit more, since some pointy head bosses haven't gotten it in their heads yet.

Re:Companies are starting to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39581069)

"If you aren't directly managing employees and/or it isn't necessary for you to have physical access to equipment, there is no reason why working from home won't work. "

oh, so pointless bullshit busy work that should have been replaced with a python script 15 years ago

Re:Companies are starting to listen (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581317)

"If you aren't directly managing employees and/or it isn't necessary for you to have physical access to equipment, there is no reason why working from home won't work."

It depends upon what you mean by "necessary to have physical access to equipment". I was recently laid off from a technical support call center for a large voip provider. We had a work at home program for a certain percentage of employees. In theory it works out fine as you say but that is just that, in theory. The huge hurdle is successfully getting it to work on a technical scale, or at least it was for us. Most of the time a large percentage of folks working at home either had issues staying connected to our VPN, or actual PC problems. Since our company provided the PC's there was nothing a work at home employee could do if something went wrong. If your PC had technical issues, one of our IT gurus couldn't remote in and just fix it, the employee would be required to physically come into the office with that PC, within 30-45 minutes of when it stopped working (if you were late that meant some form of punishment against you, but that is another issue).

And each employee at home, had to provide their own ISP service. So all the ones having issues connecting to the VPN, it wasn't just on one local ISP, it was across half a dozen or more. Either you couldn't connect at all to the VPN or so much packet loss would have you drop off in the middle of work. The office and VPN only existed on a rather bare bones T1 line, that was shared between a thousand or more employees on site, and all the ones working at home as well. Maybe it was just this company and it's own technical issues but working from home does not always work out. Sometimes there is just not a technical infrastructure there to sustain it on the company end, whether it's hardware issues with the PC's or connection issues with the employees trying to remote in, it doesn't always work out. Thankfully I never worked from home and every time it was offered to me I declined, if I accepted it I would have spent most of my time requesting PC repair from the woefully under cared PC's they had or banging my head against the wall hoping the VPN would connect (if not I'd have to juggle interstate traffic to get there within the 45 required minutes if I could not log in).

Working From Home (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578919)

Working from home is a win-win situation for everyone. The company saves lots of money by not needing premium office space and the employee is happier working in the comfort of their own home. The employee doesn't have commute expenses or office politics as well. Only the stodgiest and most old fashioned of employers refuse to entertain the possibility. I gather there are some managers that just have to micromanage. Stories like these might have cost-concious companies looking for savings and this could be a way to bring jobs back onshore. Imagine the amounts of money that could go to salaries and benefits if you didn't need a behemouth building. The technology exists to make telecommuting entirely feasible.

Re:Working From Home (1)

I_am_Jack (1116205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579619)

Only the stodgiest and most old fashioned of employers refuse to entertain the possibility. I gather there are some managers that just have to micromanage. Stories like these might have cost-concious companies looking for savings and this could be a way to bring jobs back onshore. Imagine the amounts of money that could go to salaries and benefits if you didn't need a behemouth building. The technology exists to make telecommuting entirely feasible.

When I had three WFH days a week, I was far more productive in that I went ahead and started at 6:30am since I didn't have to dress for the office, nor commute in. I'd usually shower at lunch, and I'd keep email open at least until 6:30pm. My desk phone was forwarded to my cell, so if I had to pick up my daughter, or leave home for any other reason, I could still field client calls. They ended getting a solid 9-10 hours a day out of me on those three. I loved it because it was an opportunity to tie up loose ends or play catchup with no interruptions. Their loss for taking them away when there was a change in management.

Re:Working From Home (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581209)

So by "stodgiest and most old fashioned" you mean all of them? Where I am, doesn't matter where you work, only managers are ever allowed to work from home. And I suspect "work from home" really means "work from golf course". (Granted, some of those managers work at work and home - we've got one that can be seen working no less than 16 hours per day).

I am a lawyer working at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39578957)

I'm a lawyer for a large multinational firm and I can confirm that I am more productive when I am working from an home. Indeed my latest project -- working on the design of an helicopter that is open source, is being done from my home. If I was at the office the project would not have advanced as far and as quickly as it has. We already have an hand glider and an horizontal plane, and now know that we need rotors and a Jesus Nut thanks to excellent feedback and discussion on Slashdot. Finding the Jesus Nut was easy, as we just went down to an hotel where a travelling band of evangelists were staying but designing a rotor is much more difficult. We still have not found an home or an hanger for the project though we think it should not take long.

Yours Faithfully,

An Hacker
 

Whoda thunk? (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39578975)

Employees that are comfortable, relaxed and happy are more productive. Better rush them back into the cube farm to be lulled asleep by the sea of mindless chatter and relentless policies designed to make the staff virtual automatons.

Why working at home is both awesome and horrible (4, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579015)

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home [theoatmeal.com]

All that being said, I work for a virtual call center at home doing tech support for n00bs and the like and I really like it.

From the report the other 2/3's are.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579311)

DOING FUCK ALL, picking up their kids from school, driving them to soccer and karate on my fucking dime.

Type-oooo (1)

wtoconnor (221184) | more than 2 years ago | (#39579399)

The article states "Only a third of telecom staff are productive."

Somehwat BS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579445)

I took a few weeks working from home, leading up to my wife giving birth to our second child. I'm a Staff Software Engineer for a large company, w/ 10 years experience. _I_ was far more productive in those weeks. But my overall productivity? Well, I sure as shit didn't help the new folks out, nearly as much as when I was actually in the office. So yes, local productivity (AKA me) improved. Global productivity, however, is arguable.

Re:Somehwat BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579643)

Find a better collaboration software package and learn how to use it. If you can only help someone by pointing to coding errors on their monitor, you're doing it wrong.
Back in '90 I helped another system administrator fix one of his systems by having him start a second terminal sesssion and cat /dev/pts/5 > /dev/pts/12 (He was root on /5 and I was NOT root on /12.) This kept me from having to drive to work at 8pm and didn't require him giving me the root password.

Today, you can get secure meeting software to do just about anything, including giving you the ability to annotate, so I think you're just not as helpfull as you think you are.

In my opinion.

work at home? FUCK THAT SHIT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39579819)

home is home, not a way to subsidize and lessen a company's costs. I'm not too interested on being woken up to file a TPS report

Re:work at home? FUCK THAT SHIT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39580275)

Uh.. I guess you walk or ride your bicycle to work? Or.. do you get free petrol/electricity (steam power?) for your vehicle? Awesome deal if you can get it. Don't think many employers are going to go for it ..

Or maybe you'd like to take advantage of telecommuting to lessen your own time costs in addition to the energy and wear costs of a vehicle.

Don't want to wake up to a TPS report? Turn your fucking hardware off when you're off the clock. Not difficult.

Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39580665)

They should choose a different industry to study. Working in the telecom industry for over a decade many hours are spent bitching about customers, managers, coworkers and business partners. Of course productivity is better at home, there's no one to have a bitch fest with.

I claim I'm more productive at home too (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580905)

Why wouldn't I make that claim?

Actually, most of the time I claim the opposite, home has too many distractions, I'm usually more productive in the office after 5pm. But I'm also a "night owl", so I'm quite productive at home in the evening until about 1am. Just don't expect me to do any real thinking before 10am.

Where's the office banter? (1)

djnanite (1979686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39580933)

So how does this work for those people who actually enjoy their place of work, and the people they work with? Where's the office banter? The camaraderie? The sneaky lunchtime visits to the pub?

What about training? How do train someone to work on your product if there's no one there to train them up and show them the ropes?

Sure you can argue that working form home does not suit every business, but to the those businesses that encourage it (i.e. O2) I would ask - how do you build a team that has never actually met?

Many people ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39581705)

... improve office productivity by staying home.

I've worked with (and for) a number of people who could markedly improve our organizations efficiency if they'd only promise never to set foot on company property again. Heck, we could even give them a raise and promotion as a part of the deal and we'd still come out ahead.

Two thirds less productive? (1)

pr100 (653298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582129)

So if one third are more productive, what about the rest?

Its 1/3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582509)

I like how the information is disclosed in a very biased manner. If 1/3 worked better then 2/3 worked worse

beware generalisations (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582593)

One day says nothing about long-term results. It really is as simple as that. Run that experiment again with a full month, then you can say something worthwhile.

I'm a motivator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583301)

I'm very motivational - everyone says they have to work much harder when I'm around. Can't see that happening if I stay at home.

(Poorly misquoted/munged from The Simpsons)

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