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Mobile Workers Work Longer Hours

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-the-commute-is-great dept.

Businesses 117

Qedward writes "Last month it was reported on slashdot that a third of workers at a British telecoms company were 'more productive' working from home during a telecommuting experiment to prepare for the London 2012 Olympics. A more recent study reveals almost two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks, with most also working weekends. It also has security implications, with most mobile workers saying they will do anything to get an internet connection, including hijacking unsecure networks. The problem of needing a connection has also led to an increase in workers waking up through the night due to stress."

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Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104425)

Get used to it people. It's a green initiative.

Re:Remote working is the future (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104469)

It's also a feature that you're on call 24/7, right?

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104503)

I said it's the future, not a feature.

Just saying it would be nice to see tax incentives or SOME kind of support from politicians on implementing a really easy green initiative. Imagine the carbon emission decrease if software engineers worked from home 1 day a week.

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105043)

I'd rather work from my home office 4 10-hour days a week and never have to see another pest of a manager. I can manage my own time thank you very much micro-manager-douche-PHB.

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105281)

Which is exactly why when working at home you will have to 50-60 hours to prove yourself.

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106407)

I don't have chronic manager problems. If you do, it's possible you're missing the common factor in your analysis.

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109163)

You must be American, asking for a tax break to do something that you would already benefit from.
If you were European, you'd be asking for a subsidy instead.

Re:Remote working is the future (4, Insightful)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105135)

It's also a feature that you're on call 24/7, right?

There's no reason you have to answer work calls outside of your scheduled work hours. If they want you on call 24/7 then ask for compensation.

Re:Remote working is the future (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105537)

Yeah, that's about it. Just turn off the power of your gadgets and ignore everything outside business hours. Only way to remain sane.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106591)

But if we do that, we can't continue to feel like we aren't replaceable cogs in the machine!

Re:Remote working is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40107843)

Oh yeah. Then you get called in, given a lecture about how having a job is a privilege these days, if you can't handle it there are 127 resumes on the boss's desk of people who would *willingly* do what is necessary to maintain, and perhaps there needs to be a discussion on your 'attitude problem'.

Been there, and done that. It's why I work for myself these days.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109263)

That's life for many IT people. I did my share of on calls, but not anymore. I am in long term recovery mode.

Re:Remote working is the future (4, Insightful)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107863)

Get used to it people. It's a green initiative.

No necessarily. If you don't work at home, you also don't have to keep your home warm (or cool) enough to be comfortable during the day. The office, on the other hand, will be kept at a reasonable temperature whether you're there or not.

My wife's work is about 30 miles away, but she works from home most days. We calculated that, on the coldest winter days, the carbon cost of driving to work was about the same as the extra heating that would be needed if she stayed at home. If you have a shorter commute, or have a greener method of transport than driving a car, it's quite likely that it's greener to work in the office than to work at home.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107909)

If that is actually true, you need better insulation.

Re:Remote working is the future (3, Insightful)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107997)

Perhaps some numbers would be helpful here.

We have a small semi-detached house with cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, and double glazing. We still need over 10kW to heat in the cold months. If we're out of the house for 10 hours, we save roughly 100 kW hours (*). How far will your car go on that amount of energy?

(*) Of course, it's not that simple because we have to use extra heat to bring the house back to normal temperature when we get home. A more accurate analysis would compare the temperature-time graphs for the two scenarios and use Newton's law of cooling. Nevertheless, the above figures are roughly correct.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108091)

Well the Tesla S has a 40kW battery, which if you're actually using 100kW you could charge 2.5x.

Tesla S range: 160miles 100MPGe

My car does ~45mpg on my commute (city driving).

So since we have (thanks to tesla) a very easy comparison between straight KW and MPG we see:

(2.5 * 160) * (45/100) = 180miles

In real units that's just shy of 300 Kilometers.

Re:Remote working is the future (2)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108515)

Note that kW is a unit of power, kWh is a unit of energy

Your figures weaken the support for your argument (that staying at home is greener than driving to work) significantly: they suggest it's greener to drive to work as long as it's less than 90 miles away from your home.

I disagree with your calculation, but the point remains broadly the same. Here's an alternative calculation. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , 1 US gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 33 kWh, so 100kWh is equivalent to 3 gallons US. At 45 mpg US you can go 135 miles, not 180.

You can look at this the other way round. Driving 60 miles at 45mpg US is equivalent to 44kWh of energy usage. For it to be worth staying at home for 10 hours, you would have be able to keep your home warm with less than 4.4 kW. That's roughly the power output of two old-fashioned electric bar heaters. Do you get freezing temperatures where you live?

It's difficult to be more precise because the figures depend on lots of things - how cold is the place you live, how efficient is your car, how you define "equivalence" between gasoline and other energy forms - but you've illustrated the following point very well: most people wrongly assume that the energy required to heat their home is negligible relative to the cost of driving anywhere.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108103)

So now that I've answered your question, now you can answer mine:

How much energy does it actually take to heat your house... because it's not 10kW/h.

Re:Remote working is the future (2)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108189)

How much energy does it actually take to heat your house... because it's not 10kW/h.

"Kw/h" is not a unit of either energy or power. However, I can confirm that 10kW is approximately the power needed to keep my house comfortable in the winter. I know this because I know the ratings of the radiators in the house at 60 celcius, and I also know that they need to be kept at close to 60 celcius more or less constantly.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109277)

Firstly, I repeat: get better insulation.

Secondly, "10kW/h for 10 hours" is a measure of energy.

Re:Remote working is the future (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109061)

You really only need to keep one room of your home warm/cool.

What? (5, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104463)

"The problem of needing a connection has also led to an increase in workers waking up through the night due to stress."
Seriously?
What in the world is this shit? How can someone even attempt to work from home without a solid Internet connection and with no secure method of connecting to the company network? And waking up in the middle of the night because you need a connection to the fucking internet? Man, what a mess we're living in. And I thought I was messed up.
Just get a fucking solid Internet connection. Surely one could afford it, I mean come on...

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104487)

Even ignoring the connection thing, stress while working from home is a problem. The work is with you all day long and you feel pressured to keep whittling away at it, making relaxation difficult.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

dark12222000 (1076451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104645)

Some people, myself included, can switch "work mode" on and off effectively. It's also at times useful to be able to pick at problems, especially stubborn ones.

Obviously, your mileage will vary. Working from home isn't for everyone - some people concentrate better at work, some people can't stop working if they work from home, so on, but for some, it's quite advantageous.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104681)

Bullshit.
I've been working from home for a while and it's very relaxing. You can dress very, VERY casually, for example. I attended many a meetings while sitting butt-naked in a cozy chair. You can have a beer or whatever (I don't drink alcohol, though), you can pet the cat (I do) and so on and so forth. Lack of noisy-nosy-annoying colleagues is a plus. And as far as work being with you all day long, in a world where a laptop is ubiquitous and you can take it home, not to mention company provided VPN and webmail or mobile device connectivity, well, work's there already.
I honestly think that whoever worries more while working from home either doesn't understand what "working from home" means or has deeper problems (including but not limited to a pathological fear of being fired).

Re:What? (3, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104733)

Bullshit. I've been working from home for a while and it's very relaxing. You can dress very, VERY casually, for example. I attended many a meetings while sitting butt-naked in a cozy chair. You can have a beer or whatever (I don't drink alcohol, though), you can pet the cat (I do) and so on and so forth.

While you probably make many excellent points, I only managed to read so far as the part about being butt-nekkid, rubbin' pussy all day...

Hell yea! Where do I sign up??

Re:What? (4, Informative)

Niomosy (1503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104821)

I had a friend work at a large company that began moving to working from home. He jumped at it, rented his house out, and rented a place out in Hawaii with his girlfriend. He loved it. Not too many others jumped in. He was baffled and started asking why. No one wanted to be at home all day. Some found being at home too stressful; spouse, small kids, noise, etc. Others simply liked being around other people they know for a part of the day. Others were too programmed with the office/home mentality of work/not-work.

Re:What? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105389)

True, I stopped working from home when my son was born, but that's because we rent a tiny apartment and he sleeps while I work and I am in meetings a lot. So it's not that it doesn't work for me; it doesn't work for him well.

Re:What? (1)

x1r8a3k (1170111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105483)

The biggest reason I've seen is sitting at home all day you develop something like cabin fever.

Re:What? (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106559)

That sounds like a good reason for getting a social life outside of work.

I rarely socialize with coworkers outside the office, I have "real" friends. (real in quotation marks to distinguish them from those "friends" some people have through work who are really just people they hang out with because it's convenient).

Re:What? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107609)

I rarely socialize with coworkers outside the office, I have "real" friends. (real in quotation marks to distinguish them from those "friends" some people have through work who are really just people they hang out with because it's convenient).

Well, many of the people I am friends with are people that at some point was convenient to hang with, be it friends of friends, school mates, fellow students, sports team etc. so why not coworkers? When you're chatting at the lunch table you've already passed many barriers compared to making friends with a random stranger. Of course hopefully you have old friends as well but people drift apart and move away or get too busy with girlfriends and family so if you're not replenishing your social network it's likely to fade away. Sitting at home alone you've lost at least one avenue.

Re:What? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107635)

Well, obviously a lot of the people I know are people I have met in various places over the years, a few through work, others through other friends, some that I've just bumped into somewhere and somehow we became friends.

My point was more about those who use work as their primary source of social interaction and mostly have "friends" that are also coworkers. Whenever I've left a job I can safely say I've only kept in touch with maybe one in ten of my coworkers, not because I disliked them but because to be honest the only thing we really had in common was work.

By comparison, I have plenty of friends I have never worked with who I share interests and hobbies with, things that we have in common that we both care about rather than something we have in common because neither of us wants to be homeless and starving on the street.

Re:What? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108439)

I work from home 3 days a week, and have children and this is my biggest problem. Probably because I have children at home. Otherwise working from home is great. But I don't get stressed, I don't wake up in the middle of the night stressed, and I sure as hell ain't on call 24 hours a day.

I do like to be able to start coding something though, and not have to stop at a quarter to five, drive an hour home and then start working on it tomorrow. It's nice to start coding something, work on it till it's done. Whether done is 8:00 pm at night, or noon. If I work late, I just put the laptop up early the next day. I try to keep as close to 40 hours as I can.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106601)

yes, that's exactly what a Silicon Valley company thought during an online meeting - he sat through the meeting butt naked, while jerking off, but he never thought that his webcam was still on...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106619)

sorry: Silicon Valley company exec

Re:What? (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107223)

Well if you can enjoy that during a meeting, you're REALLY SICK!

"Oh yea.. look at those figures..."

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104765)

I've tried working at home and I agree. I generally work longer hours and take fewer breaks when working alone.

Re:What? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107221)

That's because you are less dissatisfied with your work environment and can focus for a longer time, because you're not interrupted that often.

Re:What? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105543)

The question is why were they having issues. Was it due to the business network getting clogged up during working hours?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40107279)

Well, that's a question. To my mind, though, the question "Why were people waking up in the middle of the night worrying if their DSL modem had just broken" is much funnier.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109243)

It's just a pathetic attempt to get some sort of subsidy. "Oh, my life is sooooo hard; I volunteered to telecommute, but I don't have high-speed Internet access! Give me money!"
This is why Europe is broke.

A third of them should be fired. (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104471)

a third of workers [...] were 'more productive'

two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks

Which means a third is working more hours while not doing a damn thing more.
Either that or a lot of people are lying about how much they work.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104541)

Why should they be fired, unless they're billing by the hour?

A third of them might be taking longer to do the same work because they're taking more breaks, cleaning up after a kid, answering the door, whatever -- dealing with more interruptions. But if they're doing the same amount of work and being paid the same amount, why should anyone care?

(If they're paid by the hour and billing more hours, then okay.)

Re:A third of them should be fired. (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104597)

Reporter: "How many people work in your company?"

CEO: "Oh, about half."

Re:A third of them should be fired. (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104743)

Reporter: "How many people work in your company?"

CEO: "Oh, about half."

Yea, the numbers got a little better after we made the floggings mandatory...

Re:A third of them should be fired. (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104721)

OK everybody, whoever is working at home, raise their hand.....

Good... Now, everybody who is reading Slashdot and working at home, raise their hand.

Ah, funny that. Same hands....

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105301)

Are you implying they are slacking off because they are "working" from home?
Because I'm currently "working" at work and reading /.

(posted AC for obvious reasons)

Re:A third of them should be fired. (3, Insightful)

xelah (176252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104857)

a third of workers [...] were 'more productive'

two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks

Which means a third is working more hours while not doing a damn thing more. Either that or a lot of people are lying about how much they work.

No, it doesn't - more productive means doing more per hour, not doing more by spending more time working. In fact, you'd expect lower productivity from people working 50+ hours, not higher, ceteris parabis. What I suspect does happen, though, is that chopping two hours of commuting out of the day makes it possible to work longer before getting the same level of productivity fall....but that really is just my guess.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (3, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104977)

Exactly this. It's much easier to work a 50 hour week when you don't spend another 10 commuting.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104941)

a third of workers [...] were 'more productive'

two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks

Which means a third is working more hours while not doing a damn thing more.
Either that or a lot of people are lying about how much they work.

Or they were working 50+ or 60+ hours before, and now they're getting more done in the same amount of time. Or, they accomplish the same amount in the time they're working, but they spend more time working because their bosses confuse "working from home" with "always on call".

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

Aethelred Unread (2567841) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105385)

a third of workers [...] were 'more productive'

two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks

Which means a third is working more hours while not doing a damn thing more. Either that or a lot of people are lying about how much they work.

Or they were working 50+ or 60+ hours before, and now they're getting more done in the same amount of time. Or, they accomplish the same amount in the time they're working, but they spend more time working because their bosses confuse "working from home" with "always on call".

Working more hours for the same quality and quantity of work just shows poor time management on the part of the employee. If they are exceeding expectations at home then they would probably do the same in the office except now you literally have some people wanking off all day long.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106587)

a third of workers [...] were 'more productive'

two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50+ and 60+ hour weeks

Which means a third is working more hours while not doing a damn thing more.
Either that or a lot of people are lying about how much they work.

Or they were working 50+ or 60+ hours before, and now they're getting more done in the same amount of time. Or, they accomplish the same amount in the time they're working, but they spend more time working because their bosses confuse "working from home" with "always on call".

Working more hours for the same quality and quantity of work just shows poor time management on the part of the employee.

My point was that they could have a higher workload placed upon them. Even if that's not a significant problem, I would caution against kneejerk "fire the bum" judgements.

If they are exceeding expectations at home then they would probably do the same in the office

Maybe. Maybe not. I would love to be able to work uninterrupted. That's something people at my company don't understand. They think you can just call up a developer at every whim, and they're pretty much right. The only part they don't get is that the developer cannot work in five-minute spurts. If I had the option to tune all that out and only deal with requests and inane soul-shattering bullshit on regular intervals, then I would probably be more productive and less bitter. And then there is the issue of time spent driving. Even a short commute could net you 30 minutes to an hour on the road, especially if the employee has to eat out for lunch.

except now you literally have some people wanking off all day long.

I'll agree that that is a problem, but it always was. Now, it's just exaggerated.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105131)

One of my closest friends became a remote worker after having worked with them for a few years. She now puts in more than 40 hours per week on a regular basis, but it isn't for lack of productivity. It's because she's out of sight and out of mind, which leads to all sorts of problems.

Just this week, she had the following happen:
1) She was assigned a task on Monday with a hard deadline of Friday morning. It was a tight deadline, but she figured she was up for it.

2) She discovered that she couldn't start until TRIVIAL_TASK_X was done on their end, so she let them know and worked on some bugs in the meantime, figuring it'd be handled immediately.

3) She reminded them that X needed to be done. And again. And again.

4) They started X on Wednesday and finished it an hour later, leaving her two days instead of the necessary four for the task.

5) She asked for help, since there was no way she could easily meet the deadline. Her request was denied, and she was told to make it happen anyway.

6) Because she's not paid by the hour and was told to still meet the deadline, she felt obligated to put in 16 hours on Wednesday and another 16 today.

That sort of thing never used to happen to her in the years that she was working on-site, but stuff like this (though not this bad) happens rather frequently for her these days. Whenever she visits them on-site, things are good again for awhile, but then they seem to forget that she's not a machine after awhile. She's ended up being the person who receives all the tasks that no one else wants to do, and she's had excessive work land in her lap on a much more regular basis since moving off-site. She's no less productive today than she was when she was on-site. She simply has more demanded of her since she's out of sight and mind and they fail to realize the burden they are placing on her. (And, to be fair, I think part of the blame lies with her for not speaking up more often or more clearly).

Meanwhile, I work 40 hours a week. The idea that if you need overtime your manager probably messed up is a part of the culture here. I keep telling her to quit. She keeps staying with them like an abused spouse.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107931)

I've heard the same sorts of stories many times, and I do believe every word of them.

However they all share a common theme, which boils down to the fact that the company has ass-hat managers.

Is the lesson really don't work from home when your manager is an ass-hat; or is the lesson that working for ass-hats sucks and you shouldn't do it?

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108961)

Oh, I completely agree. I wasn't using my post to suggest that working from home is a bad idea. I was using it to suggest that the previous poster's idea that remote workers are simply wasting time and being unproductive isn't considering other factors that may be in play.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (2)

Riskable (19437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108057)

Your "friend" needs to get over it and stand up for herself. Seriously, I work from home 100% and this kind of crap happens all the time. Even to folks who work in the office. The only difference is that the folks in the office CANNOT get the work done while the person at home can.

This is the perfect example of, "just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD." Just tell your boss or whoever that you were given two days to get a job done that takes five. Or do what I do: Convince them that the task doesn't need to happen in the first place. Works amazingly well!

Half the time the task they wanted me to do will change anyway. So if I started it right away I would have wasted my time. It is a perverse situation that rewards procrastination. Use it to your advantage and do things that ACTUALLY need to get done!

Re:A third of them should be fired. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109053)

My "friend" really is a friend. This wasn't all just a half-assed attempt at being sly on my part with a personal problem, though I can't blame you for thinking otherwise. She was a college friend of mine and I've kept in touch with her and her husband (who's also a friend of mine and a former roommate) since they moved away a few years ago. We IM chat most days, so we both tend to be pretty aware of what's going on at the other person's work.

And I completely agree. I've been suggesting time and again that she simply needs to be making these issues more clear to them. I have no idea how she's failing to do so, however, since I'm not sitting over her shoulder listening to her phone calls, to say the least. All I know is that she claims she brings some of this stuff up from time to time, but that it hasn't resulted in a real change yet. I agree entirely with what you've said, and I don't think the blame lies entirely with her company, as I said, since she has a responsibility to speak up, which I'm not convinced that she's done well enough yet.

Re:A third of them should be fired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108125)

This is actually very common, AFAIK, and is a large problem with working from home. Without your physical body for people to see moving about performing tasks, it becomes harder to command "mindshare" in the group collective.

An article I read suggested using IM programs to not only be available at a moment's notice, but having your screen name always online during business hours is a convenient way to remind people that you exist, and are working for the same team they are. Then they're less likely to treat you like that person they used to see around.

"Employees say..." (5, Insightful)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104485)

Yeah, and I have Bigfoot doing all the server backups. You expect them to say they are doing less work? Or even the same amount of work? No confirmation from their companies on whether the company saw an increase in productivity?
Now before everyone gets flippy, I have known some people who did the mobile thing and were more productive, mostly because they didn't have people interrupting them every 5 minutes, and actually liked working more (as in hours) that way because it was more enjoyable. I also have known people that did their work in 3 hours and played games the rest of the day (also maybe because they could do 8 hours in 3 because of less distractions.

Main point- employees are never going to say anything bad about work out of the office.

Re:"Employees say..." (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104543)

If I could work from home I'd be willing to work 10 more hours each week (the amount of time I spend on the road). Of course driving is more fun than work, so maybe cut that in half.

Re:"Employees say..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104617)

This is me. Less distractions, get same amount of work done in less time, play games on my computer on company time. Love working from home. Posted AnonCoward for reasons that should be obvious.

Re:"Employees say..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105313)

Main point- employees are never going to say anything bad about work out of the office.

Well, almost.

I 100% agree with you regarding the fact that I can get shitloads more work accomplished in less hours due to the lack of constant interruptions. However, most of the work I do is very sensitive to network latency. My office computer has much better RTT to the servers than any VPN connection over broadband is ever going to dream of, and this makes remote work kind of annoying.

They may work more hours, and more productively, (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104501)

But having commuted for five hours a day in the past, and worked from home on other occasions, I would much rather work nine hours at home than work for eight in the office with even one hour of commuting.

Fuel, tires, collisions, stress, bus fair, everything associated with commuting sucks. I would much rather talk on the phone and fill out my work logs in my underwear than that.

Re:They may work more hours, and more productively (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104945)

I would much rather work nine hours at home than work for eight in the office with even one hour of commuting.

I am the opposite. I would rather work with people then without them.
I know I would be less productive and hating it while I would be doing it. I like to have my home and my work completely separated.

As the people are most likely volunteers, it would seem logical that people who volunteer, wanted to do it. Those will then be more likely to be indeed more productive.

So perhaps it is not so much about telecommuters being more productive, but people who are in an environment they like to work in are more productive. (DUH!)

Let them force people who do not want it to work at home and see if the same happens.

I have absolutely no problem with the commuting part of it. I even see it as relaxing. Most of the time I listen to books and I often take detours that takes me even longer to get home. Once I am home, I like being there and do non-work related stuff.

Re:They may work more hours, and more productively (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105025)

Well, you obviously don't live/work near Houston.

Re:They may work more hours, and more productively (4, Interesting)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106119)

I love my 10 hrs per week on the train - it gives me the opportunity to do 10hrs per week of reading, which when I was driving to and from work, I didn't have. In the last 5 years, I have read around 400 novels, and I arrive at work in the mornings in a great mood, as opposed to spending 1hr in traffic and arriving at work stressed out because 100 people have cut me off and nearly killed me. Similarly for getting home - I arrive home relaxed, instead of stressed out.

When I do have the occasion to work a full day from home (rare, but it happens) I end up working a 10hr day, and find myself missing that reading time.

Re:They may work more hours, and more productively (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106929)

I wish we had a good train system around here. I used to take the bus downtown, but to say the least there was too much over-crowding, bouncing, jerking around and too many traffic fumes to properly enjoy reading. I did some of that, but it was easier some trips that others.

Nice job Slashdot editor... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104525)

"Mobile Workers Work Longer Hours"

Can you please tell me how to make my hours longer? I just can't get everything done in 60 minutes.

Re:Nice job Slashdot editor... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104581)

hours, a. time spent in an office, factory, or the like, or for work, study, etc.: The doctor's hours were from 10 to 4. What an employee does after hours is his or her own business.

Doubt they work longer... (5, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104629)

Worked from home for the past 10 years...

I have no doubt they say they work longer... but it's more likely they just feel like they are working longer.

With no separation between work and home, it can feel like you are always working, even when you're not. And that is what keeps them up at night.. the stress from never being able to wind-down.

Re:Doubt they work longer... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104691)

I'm sure that's the case for many people, but I've worked from home and I can tell you I was just as busy at home if not more so. There's nothing like having to take a leak in your own home with the bathroom being 20 feet away and not being able to do it because you can't get away from the phone. Heck, at the office I had people come by and chat, had meetings, and lots of little BS manual tasks, at home it was nothing but pure phone and remote support and the people were stacked up in the queue so deep you didn't know if you would ever get away.

It is nice having your own fridge and toilet, not to mention better office equipment.

Re:Doubt they work longer... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105023)

"here's nothing like having to take a leak in your own home with the bathroom being 20 feet away and not being able to do it because you can't get away from the phone."

There is a secret technology called bluetoothso you can be on the phone with a headset. and if you sit and pee they cant hear you, that's why girls do it.

Re:Doubt they work longer... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105113)

I actually had one of these things [itrush.com] , but the range sucked, even with my tiny little house made of wood it would cut out when I left the formerly screened in porch converted into a bedroom we called my office.

Also, a good portion of my work was done with remote control programs where I took over the users computer with them watching. Usually I would try to sneak in a leak when we first initiated a call while I was talking them through setting up their system so I could get in. BTW, Bomgar [bomgar.com] is awesome.

Re:Doubt they work longer... (3, Funny)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105739)

you can be on the phone with a headset. and if you sit and pee they cant hear you, that's why girls do it.

I actually had one of these things [wikipedia.org] , but the range sucked

FTFY :)

Re:Doubt they work longer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105081)

I worked from home for two months. First time I ever did yard work that was not absolutely necessary. Just to see something different. Drove 45 miles for dinner. It was nice, but walling off a room seems like an idea i should have had earlier. Dedicated work only office.

Re:Doubt they work longer... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106757)

This is what I discovered. It actually got to the point where to do "work" i left the house and went to my favorite cafe in town. They had wifi, but I have a mobile hotspot as well for another means of connecting if they happen to be having issues or their connection is over saturated.

It's 10 minutes away by bike, or about 5 by car if the weather is bad and usually my routine is wake up about 7AM, check email for anything important overnight, go take a shower and grab a snack for breakfast, get to the cafe about 9AM. Get a cup of coffee and another snack, lunch around 1PM and usually done with the tasks of the day by 2 or 3 PM.

Then it's back home with my phone handy incase someone calls or emails.

SpyParty, The Game (beta testing ATM): Poor Toby! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104685)

From: http://www.spyparty.com/ [spyparty.com]

(This is a game in the beta testing phase)

zerotka: "I had recently decided to go into practice mode and watch how the AI partied. I decided to start off with watching the waiter and how party members would react after getting a drink. I was hoping to find some tells so i spent quite a bit of time with it. I think after about the 10th or so game, i had to write a short-story-like-thingy. I had shared it with a couple other testers and they thought i should post it on the forums. I was hesitant at first, but alas, here i am."

"Toby
The other day I had taken a few minutes and watched the waiter, Toby.
I watched him from outside the ballroom.
He walked about, person to person, and offered drinks.
The guests had no respect for Toby in anyway.
The more i watched, the more overwhelmed with sadness i had become.

He would approach a guest and extend out his tray
And politely waitâ¦.
He received no form of acknowledgement.
They all simply ignored him.

If they happened to be thirsty, theyâ(TM)d turn around,
grab a drink from the tray and immediately return to the conversation.
Not a âoeThanksâ, Not a, âoeHowâ(TM)s your dayâ,
Nothing.

Sometimes, a guest would turn around to grab a drink
but when they saw it was Toby they would return to the conversation.
After i saw that, i.. ..i lost control of myself.
âoeDonâ(TM)t let them do that to you Toby!â I had screamed.
He was completely invisible to them.
They would even run into him!

Several minutes of constant disrespect had drained the life out him.
He began to believe what everyone was doing to himâ"He believed he was a robot, an AI.
If i had enough bullets, Iâ(TM)d shoot every one of those jerks for you Toby!
But i only had one bullet.
And even if i had enough to kill all of them, more would spawn to replace them.
A tear had formed in my eye.

I had grabbed my sniper and centered Toby in the sights.
He had walked toward the window and stared at me.
I could tell by his blank expression
that his life had somehow spiraled out of control
And he knew there was only one way out of it.
I switched the safety off.
Iâ(TM)m sorry Toby.

The tear had fallen down my cheek and onto the ground.
The glasses on the tray had crashed to the floor,
Guests had screamed and cowered in fear.

Even though the spy had gotten away
I still felt like it was a small victory.

I hope in digital heaven, they serve you alcohol."

what will happen with Olympics network over load? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40104715)

what will happen with Olympics network over load?

I can see working at home turning into a big mess. even more so if cable nodes over load.

48 Hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104837)

That's quite a lot.
Does the writer say how many of those hours include sleeping while on-call or interview one or more of the workers involved?
They did not.
It's an opinion piece with a talking head.

Slashcode Disappoints Once Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40104875)

That should be >48 hours

What fools are doing this? (3)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105005)

When I work from home, I dont even THINK of starting until start time and I am offline the second 5pm hits. Phones go to voicemail, sucks to be you with yout 5:01 TPS report as I will not even know about it until 7:59 the nest morning.

If you let your employer abuse you, they expect you to take it. Stand up and realize you are doing your office a favor by working there, not the other way around.

Re:What fools are doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105501)

When I work from home, I dont even THINK of starting until start time and I am offline the second 5pm hits. Phones go to voicemail, sucks to be you with yout 5:01 TPS report as I will not even know about it until 7:59 the nest morning.

If you let your employer abuse you, they expect you to take it. Stand up and realize you are doing your office a favor by working there, not the other way around.

It's nice to be able to say this...but the truth is in most offices that if you're not there when anyone bellows about their self importance...they let you know in no uncertain terms there are more than enough people to replace you who will be there at their bellowing.

For instance...I worked for a sh!tty company I got fired from for being on-call one weekend and ended up in the hospital ER and out of touch. That Monday...I was called onto the carpet in HR...given a sob story how IF something had happened the company could've lost some money or some other BS...handed me an empty box and I handed them my discharge papers from the ER. Didn't change one thing...except I called BSA on the company for software privacy (announced in a department meeting they got fined the previous year for $250,000 and with a merger going through were even more worried) as soon as I got home and changed the pass code to their emergency call-in system from a pay phone in a part of town I never spent time in after hours. Never heard anything from them ever again.

Re:What fools are doing this? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108511)

No it's nice to be able to do this. I work from home about 4X a month. and I just refuse to be abused. The side effect is that I dont work for shitty companies.

I have turned down job offers because I get a bad feeling from the owner/HR/management. But I also wander a bit after the interview and talk to other employees. get the real dirt before you work somewhere.

And yes the BSA call is a great weapon, be sure to follow it up with an anonymous OSHA violation tip.

Oh and if you work in one of the shitty states that lets the employer fire you for any reason, I suggest moving. your termination would allow me to sue them in court easily for 3-5 years of salary.

Re:What fools are doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106505)

yep, that's exactly what I do as well. With an additional nap after lunch once in a while. Don't let employer's deadlines manage your life.

I've been remote since last Feb. (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105111)

To hell with cube's. And where I live, local companies still won't let people work remote which is funny because they also can't find developers.

Sleep at night (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105161)

"The problem of needing a connection has also led to an increase in workers waking up through the night due to stress."

A spliff before bed does wonders for that.... ;)

PeopleWare Strikes Back (1)

Walt Sellers (1741378) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105331)

What? People more productive?

Why? They are only:
- away from noisy cubes.
- away from hallway meetings.
- saving time from a commute.
- saving aggravation from a commute.
- a few feet from their private bathrooms and break-rooms. (Not several hundred feet down a long, busy hall.)

BellSouth (now AT&T) also discovered a productivity boost among employees allowed to telecommute during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Re:PeopleWare Strikes Back (2)

Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105585)

What? People more productive?

Why? They are only: - away from noisy cubes. - away from hallway meetings. - saving time from a commute. - saving aggravation from a commute. - a few feet from their private bathrooms and break-rooms. (Not several hundred feet down a long, busy hall.)

BellSouth (now AT&T) also discovered a productivity boost among employees allowed to telecommute during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

The first two items are total productivity killers for me. I can't count the number of times I've had to put on headphones in an attempt to filter out co-workers' talking. Now if I could just get people to use complete, understandable sentences when they IM me, I'd get even more work done.

Data security with mobile workers (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105429)

Data security classically was: you keep your data in a mainframe, and give people only terminals.

Then it was: You give people PCs, but put gum in the USB slots.

These days that's hard to do because motherboards want keyboards and mice to be USB.

Not to mention laptops. And in some companies (like Nokia US), it's all laptops all the time. And mobile (i.e., no) offices.

In such a scenario, how do you protect against an employee who wants to cp the entire database (design, products, customers, whatever)? Or other documents?

Maybe this should be an Ask Slashdot.

Terminal server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105523)

It's the only way to enclose everything in the perimeter. It has a lot of drawbacks but if you need a sealed electronic border around the company, remote desktop or virtual desktop infrastructure is the gold standard.

Re:Data security with mobile workers (3, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106093)

First thing you do is figure out if this is something that you even need to worry about. All security is about making it harder to get something than the effort to get it is worth. In homes, some people just use a lock on the front door. Others use a deadbolt. Others Still use as security door. The reality is that a battery operated recipical saw will take you right through the walls of most homes. No one builds their walls out of steel to prevent that simple attack on the house. Why? Because burgelers are not going to take that kind of effort to get in.

That same needs to be looked at with corporate security. Some businesses really do need super high security. Most do not.

Another unbiased survey (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105449)

Enterprise global Wi-Fi network provider iPass surveyed 1,700 mobile employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide...The survey also found that 88 percent of these wireless heads thought cable-free access was "as important to their lives, or almost, as running water and electricity". Another 95 percent reported significant reductions in their job productivity without wireless access.

It's not clear to me that "mobile worker" means the same as "telecommuter". But the article seems to be saying that companies need to run out and buy more Enterprise Global Wi-Fi Networks (tm) so they can get employees happily working 60 hours per week and being more productive at the same time. Sure, we'll get right on that.

Than who? (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106183)

Mobile workers work longer hours than workers in other cities in Alabama.

Re:Than who? (1)

freudigst (1778168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106825)

The summary provided is indeed a mish-mash of confusion: Is it about telecommuters or, indeed, "mobile" workers?!?

Mobile workers != Working from home (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106889)

Telecommuters work from home. They do not need to worry about connection because they are at home and they have one available (unless they are so cheap that they are connecting to theirs neighbours').

Mobile workers (aka road warriors) are the guys that roam the country (think of vendors) and have to connect to office from wherever they are. I know a lot of them and yes they work at all, mostly because after their normal routine they often are stranded in someplace where they know nobody so, instead of being with the family or going to a bar with fiends they have nothing to do so they keep working.

Stupid /. editors, again.

What about supervision? (1)

bigsands (2543866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106939)

Who supervises the ones that work from home and how effective is it? Keeping an eye on staff working in an office is difficult enough, but it is more challenging if they are at a remote location. So how does it work?

Unsecured networks? (4, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107303)

What the hell are firms doing even making it possible to connect to their systems on unsecured servers? I've worked from home for years (well, 3 days at home, 2 in the office) and the only way I can connect is via my work laptop which has an encrypted hard drive and connects via VPN and an RSA keyfob thingy. Trying to connect any other way means you'll just get rejected by the servers and rightly so.

As for hours, yes, I work longer hours at home but I can work them when I want (more or less, meetings permitting) so can be around for the school run, making dinner for the family in the evening etc.

What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40107671)

People who don't have to deal with office politics, idiotic bureaucratic rules, and stupid coworkers do more work? COLOR ME SURPRISED. Seriously, if everyone could work from home productivity would likely shoot up due to morale going through the roof. My job is answering a phone and typing in a message. Set me up with a state of the art phone that receives those calls at my house and the appropriate program on my computer and I'd be there whenever they needed me during the time I was awake thanks to not having to actually be near other stupid human beings.

Not Really (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40107895)

50 to 60 hours? Yet when you deduct the commute they're back to under par.

Maybe they should try farming. I only work 80 to 100 hours a week, but at least I don't have to commute and the quality of life is spectacular farming.

my question with telecommuting is... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108973)

Okay so if you are in the office (or in a remote office) they would stump for your internet connection so why is it not common practice to pay for a connection for your telecommuters??

(aka why is an internet connection an issue??)

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