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114 comments

bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600523)

Because we've all done some successful networking through craigslist in the last five years, certainly the sort that would lead to anything resembling an interview or actual job of any sort, right? Fuck CL. Feel free to filter my post and not the stories posted on this website.

Re:bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600571)

Please Dont call me trying to sell stuff while I'm working from home..

Fun things to do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600569)

One thing I like to do, that I've done since high school, is to have sex while having important phone conversations with somebody on the other end who has no idea. When it was my girlfriend taking the call, I would be quiet but start going harder and faster and he voice would waver and quiver and she would be all, "Yeah, so...um..uh.....unh."

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re: Fun things to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600631)

Great to know you've for a name for your hand.

Do not want (4, Interesting)

MacDork (560499) | about 8 months ago | (#44600595)

Work from home is a trap. I would only consider working from home if my employer is me. Work from home blurs the lines between home life and work life to the point where you are always on call. I work 40hrs a week as a software developer and sys admin. The rest of the time in my week is mine.

Re:Do not want (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600625)

Sorry to hear you had a sadistic employer who took advantage of his ability to contact you outside the office, but it's not always like that. In my case, I found that working from home allowed me to work fewer hours. When I went to the office every day, I was forced to stay there 8 hours a day even if I had finished my tasks in 5. Working from home, I do what I need to do for my own company and then pursue my own interests. Plus, working from home is not necessarily working from home as a reliable internet connection can be had cheaply nearly everywhere now. I was able to backpack Asia for months while still fulfilling my duties.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600653)

Yeah, I work less than you from home. Works out pretty great, apparently you've been doing it wrong.

Re:Do not want (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600655)

I think being on the call 24/7 is fine... if I'm paid for 24/7 as well!

Re:Do not want (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 8 months ago | (#44602771)

That really depends on the task. In some cases, like being a high level manager 24/7 on call is a reality today. The job description assumes this and compensation also accounts for this.

In some other cases, like base level IT workers, it can happen if you work from home without any kind of extra compensation and you're not strong enough to resist the employer's push. Many people fall into this category.

Re: Do not want (4, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 8 months ago | (#44600663)

Exactly backwards. Working for yourself you have the hardest boss. Working as TFA article describes you can log out of chat and set your phone on DND when your workday ends.

Re: Do not want (5, Insightful)

notthepainter (759494) | about 8 months ago | (#44600703)

Exactly. I've done both, currently working for myself. All my friends say, "Oh man, that's great, you can take the day off if you want." Sigh... when you work for yourself you don't get a day off.

Re: Do not want (5, Funny)

plopez (54068) | about 8 months ago | (#44600775)

I used to work for myself. But my boss was a jerk. And my employee was an idiot.... :)

Re: Do not want (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601361)

I work for myself too and not only is my boss an idiot, he sometimes sexually harasses me....

Re: Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44606159)

He gave you a raise so you have nothing to complain about! ;p

Re: Do not want (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 8 months ago | (#44605833)

Your boss was a jerk, but I heard he gave handjobs pretty much whenever you wanted. That's a perk.

Re:Do not want (4, Interesting)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 8 months ago | (#44600813)

Another problem of working from home is that it hinders the building of contacts. A lot if what I can do is through chance contact: I go for a smoke and get chatting with a person in logistics. I receive and email from somebody, who I realise is in the building, so I go chat with them. Face to face makes a difference. It's way easier to fix something if I've had a beer or two with the right people. It's not deliberate; more serendipitous resultsof wanting to be social, and more easily done in person.

Re:Do not want (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 8 months ago | (#44600901)

It's no surprise that social people will find social ways to advance their career and make their work easier, but that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to do so that don't require that face-to-face interaction.

this is a fair criticism (4, Informative)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 8 months ago | (#44601251)

It is true that telecommuting can hinder networking with people in water-cooler/cigarette breaks.

For the company I work for, a very large healthcare, the offices are all distributed nationally, no no real chance at face time with those units, even if I was in the office every day.

Not probably as good a substitute, but we end up using instant messaging a lot and get to do a bit of social networking that way, like in the old dot-com days.

Re:this is a fair criticism (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601583)

Same here. I supervise a team of 5 network and system engineers spread across 3 physical locations at a large US based law firm.. We are responsible for all things network and system related for 15 offices in 6 different countries. When I am doing my day to day I don't know if the engineer I am talking to is home or in their designated work office or at a remote office and they don't know where I am either. It does not matter. If I need them they are just an IM, phone call, or an email away and the same for me. Even if we all came to our respective "offices" everyday we would be contacting each other the same way and our work is spread around the 15 offices so 14/15's of our work is remote too and even that 1/15 can often be done remotely. Who goes to the data center and to reconfigure a router or build a virtual machine unless you have to and why would a second person be going? We all get along and work well together and have been doing this for years. We travel a lot and usually meet up somewhere in person every few months as work dictates like large moves, large swap-outs, major changes etc.

Re:this is a fair criticism (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 8 months ago | (#44605853)

Yeah, chatting greatly helps. From personal experience though I found chatting was more about sustaining the relationships I built after visiting colleagues in other regions. I suppose I'm more a face to face person.

Re:Do not want (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 8 months ago | (#44602527)

For me, I prefer the janitorial service at the office to the lazy SOB who cleans up at home. Also the fridge has more stuff in it at the office, it has air conditioning, a larger desk, and a full set of lab equipment.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44603609)

Another problem of working from home is that it hinders the building of contacts.

And meanwhile, you get questioned on why you're not 'connecting' with 'the team'.

Gee, I can't imagine why, when you've got a few people in one city, and everyone else scattered around the bloody continent. Hey guys, let's all go for a virtual beer after work.

Re: Do not want (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600857)

Im a software developer that can work from home 95% of the time (I go in for design meetings once or twice a month.) I'm sorry you have had problems setting boundaries.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

TobinLathrop (551137) | about 8 months ago | (#44600897)

Thanks to my current work position I am out of on call rotation, so other than the odd big outage or emergency (well customer needs it yesterday) server build I rarely put much extra time *knock wood*. But due to long ago lack of desk space the company decided to push server admins in to telecommuting cause a cable internet is cheaper than desk space. Not that they pay for it anymore and there is still no permanent desk space but it is cheaper than gas on the 40 mile round trip if I had to drive it every day. My biggest problem is remembering to get out every day for a walk or something, while I am good at locking the work machine/setting away at quitting time sometimes it is a yeah still the same old walls I have been looking at all day stir crazy that really gets to me.

Work from home a trap? Depends .... (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 8 months ago | (#44601349)

I currently work in I.T. for a company that is fairly flexible about my working from home. Truthfully, the biggest issues with it are the more subtle things. Since many of the people I do support for have to be in the office the vast majority of the time, there's that psychological issue where they don't see me, so they begin to feel like I don't put in as much time/effort as they do. (And by the same token, I eventually start feeling a sense of guilt or concern that I'll get perceived that way if I don't make an appearance sometimes, despite there really being no pressing reason to spend money on the gas to drive 45 minutes into work and back again.)

The "always on call" thing is definitely a problem, especially since there are only a few of us working in I.T. supporting around 150 users in multiple time zones. If one of us is on vacation, you can bet on getting at least a few calls or emails about "need it now" issues happening after you should really be done for the day. But I don't find it's any worse working from home than in the office? Either way, people are going to put in their requests whenever they need to and you either see it on a PC at home or on a PC at work, or on your smartphone while you're out someplace. If you don't push back a bit ,saying "This time is now MY time... so I'll just ignore this one until tomorrow.", then yes - you're caught in a trap. But it's a trap you allowed yourself to get locked into....

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 8 months ago | (#44601365)

If you can do the job from home, then so can someone with better (on paper) qualifications in the 3rd world, getting paid 1/10.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44604969)

If you can do the job from home, then so can someone with better (on paper) qualifications in the 3rd world, getting paid 1/10.

That's OK, someone else will get paid 20x as much to clean it up 6-12 months later when all the routine maintenance turns out to have not been done, backups are non-existent, etc. Or someone else-else will get a fat start up contract for the new company that moves in when the failed one dies.

Re:Do not want (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#44601373)

I do work from home without fixed work times. As all time spent working goes into my time-sheet in 1/4 hour increments, I do not see any trap here. True, "work-time" cannot reasonably be accumulated anymore by staring out the window at the office, but if I have an idea while doing something private, that goes into the time-sheet as well.

It does require honesty though, against your employer and against yourself, and it does require trust in the other direction.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44602251)

Work from home blurs the lines between home life and work life to the point where you are always on call.

Only if you let it. I've worked from home for years, and have never had that problem.

Re:Do not want (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#44603703)

Work from home blurs the lines between home life and work life to the point where you are always on call.

Depending on where you work, the line between work life and home life has been blurred for years, or it never will be no matter what.

I've had work-from-home jobs where I worked 8-5, never any overtime nor after-hours calls. I've also had jobs where remote work wasn't aloud, yet I'd be on-call once a month, and get several calls, and need to drive-in to the office. The work environment, not your location, dictates how much it'll suck your time.

It's hard to put a price on being able to... (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 8 months ago | (#44600691)

work while living out in the countryside. I'd put a pretty high value on that myself. Good luck to you!

An Homesourced? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600693)

Are you a foreigner taught in India-British slum English? Learn to be a American and get it right!

Re:An Homesourced? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600881)

What's funny is they also wrote, "the balance of their staff works from home." Using "works" pegs the writer as an American speaker. Anyone actually trained in British or international English would not treat a collection of people as a singular entity. This is probably just someone trying to sound more educated by parroting some international English variation they heard somewhere.

Re:An Homesourced? (3)

toygeek (473120) | about 8 months ago | (#44602817)

Actually no its just a typo more than anything. I thought I'd fixed it but because of the way Google's blogger service works, it got stuck in the URL that way and for some reason carried over into it when I submitted it to /. Isn't that odd.

Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (5, Interesting)

notthepainter (759494) | about 8 months ago | (#44600695)

I'm an iOS developer (and used to do OS X) who has worked at home for over 2 decades now. I did have one year where the new boss wanted me in the office. (I upgraded bosses via the resume route eventually.) And I once was laid off because I refused to move halfway across the country (new boss wanted me sitting there.) You need discipline to not blur the line between home and work. For me that means regular hours and an office with a door that shuts. Once place I lived even had the office in a studio that was attached but I needed to go outside to get to it. I loved it. Family also knows what working means and treats it as such. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (1, Funny)

theskipper (461997) | about 8 months ago | (#44600907)

iOS developer for over two decades? Is that like being a quantum physicist for over 150 years?

(Apologies, embarrassing myself by using that line has been on my todo list forever. Check.)

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (1)

notthepainter (759494) | about 8 months ago | (#44600923)

you missed the "used to do OS X" part... but I was coding iOS before the app store was open, briefly, but I was!

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (1)

mapuche (41699) | about 8 months ago | (#44601431)

Yeah, because OS X has over to decades of life.

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601511)

Let's all read this again together, shall we?

"iOS developer (and used to do OS X) who has worked at home for over 2 decades now"

This implies the guy (or gal) worked at home for two decades, and that he currently works on iOS programs, and before that, OS X. It does not imply anything about what he did before that, except that he (or she) worked at home.

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 8 months ago | (#44601543)

Let's examine the sentence you're insisting on continuing to pick at:

I'm an iOS developer (and used to do OS X) who has worked at home for over 2 decades now

Where did the poster say he's spent his entire working life on OS X? 10.0 was released on March 24, 2001, which was over 12 years ago. He's an iOS developer now, has worked on Mac OS X in the past, and didn't say that was the only thing he's developed on in his entire life.

If we assume the poster entered the professional IT workforce at 22 and spent his first 3 years or so working conventional office jobs, adding 20 years of working remotely would make him 45 now. I've known plenty of guys who have spent over a decade working remotely (I've done the same thing off and on), and I'm 32. I've known other guys who kept part time coffee shop jobs and worked from home for other folks doing consulting for 40 hours a week. In light of all this, Nothing about anything the poster said seems unreasonable to me.

You probably thought your sarcasm came across as some kind of demonstration of wit. In truth, you just looked like a bit of an idiot, and you're entirely too old to be excused for acting like that.

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (1)

notthepainter (759494) | about 8 months ago | (#44603841)

Thank you!

I was out on the road and couldn't respond. Glad you did for me.

Yes, I did OS X before then. And before then it was MacOS 9 and then 8. And before that was System 7. And before that was System Software 6. Before that was SunOS (not Solaris, and MassComp, remember them?). Before that was VMS and before that was RXS-11M. Before that I was at MIT, best one I remembered was called Q on Perkin-Elmer hardware. You had to call out "Ok to to compile" before compiling. Of course some ITS and a smidge of Lisp machines. Then it was PDP-8 assembly language. Oh wait, one more. A Frieden Flexo-writer. Yes, that means I have cut and pasted with scissors and glue.

Now get offa my lawn.

Re:Been doing it for 2 decades now - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601545)

Seems you should highlight "has worked at home for over 2 decades now" - obvious, to me at least, that would be open-ended as to just what kind of work was done at the time.

I have been working mostly from home (office time as needed is definitely the lesser part) for about 10 years now, and it does entail working the odd hours since I do IT work with people all around the globe for a multinational, and I do need to manage my hours. However, hoping to stay with current employer until retirement, and having just missed being laid off in the last round a month or so ago (although the severance package with Social Security retirement eligibility was attractive), I need the job more than being too particular about just how my time is allocated (for about 2 more years...).

Wage scale is wrong (3, Informative)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 8 months ago | (#44600709)

$20/hr ... So much for that high paying job.

$20/hr is not a high-paying job anymore, (unless you're comparing it to stocking shelves at the discount store, which you shouldn't).

Re:Wage scale is wrong (1)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about 8 months ago | (#44600783)

$20 is high paying if you're low-level IT, helpdesk, etc. One of my first jobs out of high-school was helpdesk for a DSL company, making $20/hr. You're lucky if you get that much now for the same job.

I've since moved onto programming/development - and make substantially more money (ironically, with less stress).

Re:Wage scale is wrong (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 8 months ago | (#44600889)

You're adjusting for the type of work being performed. ("$20/hr is good money, for what I'm doing.")

I am not.

If we assume that $50,000/yr in 1986 is good money (as the song says, that will buy a lot of beer), and adjust for inflation [bls.gov] , that's $53/hr (I use a 2000 hour work-year, which gives a lousy 2 weeks of vacation, but simplifies the arithmetic).

Re:Wage scale is wrong (2)

fred911 (83970) | about 8 months ago | (#44601995)

$20 an hour goes fairly far in Central and S. America and most of Asia. It puts you in the top 10% of wage earners.

Re:Wage scale is wrong (1)

toygeek (473120) | about 8 months ago | (#44602871)

Perhaps I should had said "well paying" instead. $20/hr for the average folk is pretty decent. More than that, it gave me some nice easy numbers to play with ;-)

Re:Wage scale is wrong (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#44603675)

Depends on location. Rent or mortgage will be the majority of your expenses.

If you're somewhere that they're just about giving away abandoned houses, $20/hr would be very good money.

Re:Wage scale is wrong (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44604579)

Abandoned 1$ houses are rarely habitable and generally need at least new plumbing and wiring (copper thiefs). Think of it as free land but you need a new house on it.

Waiting for the stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44600727)

about the guy who was homeschooled, then got a college degree online, then got a job working from home, then got a place in the suburbs with a study where he could work and workout equipment so he wouldn't have to go to a gym.

Not especially new or even novel (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 8 months ago | (#44600815)

1998-2004: worked from home as a freelancer; 2004-2007: full-time job working from home (the company didn't even have an office in the country where I was living at the time); 2007-present: after transferring to my employer's home country, have continued to work from home whenever I feel like it (which is most of the time).

Somebody would have to give me a LOT of money before I'd agreed to be forced to work in an office 40 hours/week again.

The writer missed two advantages (4, Informative)

plopez (54068) | about 8 months ago | (#44600843)

1) Money savings by not eating out. Where I work most people I see eat out either in the company cafeteria or off campus. I estimate would be about $10/day, or $160/month. Which could be about an insurance payment or a wifi plan. Personally I only eat out about twice a month as a treat, right after payday. Otherwise it is normally leftovers and sandwiches. Working from home you just walk over to the fridge.

2) Free gym membership! Get some weights or an exercise bike. Then take a break over lunch and work out.

Re:The writer missed two advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601297)

Forget the "free gym membership". If you work at home, getting out to the gym (or pool, or track...) is a great excuse to get out of the house. I work from home, and doing outside activities like this is a big part of what keeps me from being a shut-in.

Re:The writer missed two advantages (1)

toygeek (473120) | about 8 months ago | (#44602831)

That's very true! I didn't even consider the cost of eating out. There can be a significant savings for sure. Plus, admit it: You don't go to the place that sells healthy sammiches, you go down to McDonalds and buy 5 $1 items and hog out. Working from home all but eliminates that.

Re:The writer missed two advantages (2)

MrKaos (858439) | about 8 months ago | (#44606323)

That's very true! I didn't even consider the cost of eating out. There can be a significant savings for sure. Plus, admit it: You don't go to the place that sells healthy sammiches, you go down to McDonalds and buy 5 $1 items and hog out. Working from home all but eliminates that.

I've been telecommuting on and off for 15-20 years and have found it has numerous benefits for myself, the employer and my own business.

First the diet issue. When I'm at home I found that I eat healthy food because I actually make a meal at lunch, consequently over the years, I have become quite a good cook.

Avoiding traffic has made me extremely productive as my output is generally higher than when I commute simply because the "slog" of driving isn't there and my brain is permitted a slow start for creative problem solving.

I did find that I would get stir crazy when it went on for too long and I missed the interaction I could get with colleagues and peers so I do both now and use the office to interact with colleagues.

An interesting blog, thank you for your perspective.

Re:The writer missed two advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44607075)

I can't agree with the gym idea more. I honestly think everyone should have a home gym. It's a good idea for anyone who wants to be fit without going to the gym. If you spend $30 a month on a gym membership, that's $360 per year. If you invest $720(two years of membership fees) into a home gym, you can get: a bench, a couple bars, some plates, some dumbbells, and a used elliptical/bike/treadmill. If you go to garage sales you can find all of this stuff for even cheaper than $720. That's what I did, and excluding the machine, I'm almost guaranteed this stuff will last longer than 2 years. If I treat it all properly, it'll all last for decades.

Gym membership for a decade? $3,600+ and you no longer have it when you stop paying.

Home gym after a decade? Still the same $720 and you get to keep it for as many decades as you want. At the end you can sell it and get some of your money back.

I'm guessing like most of the users here, I'm not a body builder or really looking to bulk up. I just like being able to use my body when needed and not run out of breath.

Ryan knows what he's talking about... (4, Interesting)

urbanriot (924981) | about 8 months ago | (#44601033)

A large component of my job is working from home and my experiences are entirely the same as Ryan's. I often start 'work' as soon as I wake up while sipping my morning coffee and before I know it the day is over at 6 PM and I've worked through what regular people think of as breaks, hopefully having snacked at some point in between. There are entire weeks of week days where I don't leave the house for no explainable reason other than I have no reason to and I'm tired. Similarly to Ryan, I have to remind myself to shower for the benefit of people I may encounter throughout the day and wear clean clothes.

There is the benefit of saving gas, avoiding car maintenance, less time involved in a commute and the convenience of having access to things like juicers or blenders for a healthy bite to eat when I think about it. I can also change throughout the day as the weather changes and that's always convenient. However since I'm in a seasonal climate there are additional energy costs that would be absorbed by an employer.

I suppose additional benefits include the ability to loudly listen to whatever music I like if I'm not actively voice communicating and I suppose I'm less likely to die in a car accident.

The question is, is this a big deal that seriously affects the quality of my life? No, not really, there are also pros and cons about working in an environment with more structure and the time I save in avoiding a commute, I could make it up at an office with less personal distractions. I wouldn't say one way is better or worse than the other for me, they're just different.

Re:Ryan knows what he's talking about... (1)

toygeek (473120) | about 8 months ago | (#44602845)

Thanks for the reply! I'm glad to see that this post resonated with people in the way that it has. Your comment about changing clothes as the day goes by hits home with me too (pun intended). Shorts, jeans, socks, no socks, back to shorts, oops spilled lunch on my shirt...

Re:Ryan knows what he's talking about... (1)

urbanriot (924981) | about 8 months ago | (#44604363)

Haha! My wife gave me heck last week because my foot prints travelled across the dark hardwood living room floor, "You never wear socks inside!!"

Re:Ryan knows what he's talking about... (2)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44604611)

Floors are supposed to be practical, not art. The whole thing about turning a house into a pristine magazine ad you are afraid to touch, I really dont get it.

Working from home is green (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601111)

Another great thing about working from home: no more traffic jams and computers left on in the office...I wake up and walk down stairs, exuding 0 green house emmisions and only usually turn on my laptop and speakers, consuming (on average) around 200kwh. Driving to office usually starts and ends me in a traffic jam for a total of 2 hours a day (another bonus, time back from commuting), producing some grand number of metric tons of CO2 a year, top that with all of the office lighting used becuase building managers don't believe in sunlight, and number of devices left on in the office and the number of GH gases quickly rises...I'm a huge advocate for work from home (where feasible and manageable, which is most software engineering positions)

Re:Working from home is green (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44604635)

200kwh? (1666AMPS @ 110V) You sir, have either one heck of sound system or use a rackmount unit as laptop... :-)

Careful what you wish for... (4, Interesting)

Stiletto (12066) | about 8 months ago | (#44601115)

If your job can be done from home, it can be done from India.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601163)

Not necessarily true. IT support has to communicate in real time with both customers and with L3 engineers, who tend to be the regular feature developers of the software product. True, this could be done in India but with a time zone shift of 9 1/2 hours, the better talent in India will probably find 9-5 work.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601267)

No it can't. Speaking as a former console monkey now Enterprise Architect, I once had the rare pleasure of dealing with a turbidiot while I was fixing an ESX host. I wanted him to FTP a file over and he replied, "I've heard of FTP but I've never used it. Could you please explain to me how to use it?" -- I was literally willing to get all my shots just so I could fly over to Bangawhore to punch that moron squarely in the face. Yes there's a lot of hate in this post. I was lucky enough to get off the console long before "they" not only commoditized our skills but also encouraged a global dumbing down of IT to the point that anyone who can install an app on an iPhone thinks they can build and manage servers for $5/hr. Fuckers.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601793)

Speaking as a former console monkey now Enterprise Architect

But you've gone through the trouble of telling us you're an Enterprise Architect so you're certainly an expert who knows what he's talking about, right?

Re:Careful what you wish for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601619)

Whatever. If Indian IT workers can be gainfully employed, more power to them. I have worked (and currently work) with colleagues from India, Russia, Romania, you name it. A large part of it has taken place from home because the coworkers wouldn't have been in the local office anyway.

I'm hired for a job and I need to do the job well without getting entangled in ethnic animosity. It may well be that the Western coder goes the way of clocksmiths, but at the moment I'm busy with interesting development work. Some of it is best handled in the office, but there are tasks to finish and bugs to fix where the peace in the home is perfect.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 8 months ago | (#44602299)

Looks like only the AC's are biting on this one. Regardless of whether it makes sense on a technical level, this is exactly what the bean counters and VP's are thinking. They don't care if the folks providing support know what FTP is, they have a contract and someone to yell at if it all goes south - and a mountain of provable cost efficiencies. If they're particularly smart, they will keep just enough dedicated talent on-hand to babysit during the transition offshore, chewing up all of their work/life balance for the promise of something better.
But don't worry, as one of those dedicated, talented people facing burnout, you, too, will be offered the ability to work from home when the dust settles. You can pat yourself on the back, knowing that you've done a good job for your employer, and that your work-from-home arrangement won't end the same way, right?

Definitely good parts and bad with WFH (3, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about 8 months ago | (#44601183)

I just started WFH in April after 13 years doing L2 support for enterprise storage equipment. The team I came from was, to be totally honest, really great to work for. We had a great manager (the same one) the entire time up until he retired in April, and there was nothing wrong with his replacement other than being a little green. We were a tight-knit group with little turnover (which is good, as it took about 2 years of OTJ to train somebody new), and most of us worked from home rarely, even though our manager encouraged us to do so at least once a week if we were so inclined; the nature of the work (solving new, unique, and subtle ways customers found to break our stuff) involved a lot of collaboration and whiteboarding that would have been nearly impossible remotely. Lots of eavesdropping over the cube walls and hearing a co-worker describe a problem that vaguely resembles one you just fixed five months ago. I left not out of any deep-seated problem, but rather it was time for me to move my career forward; I had no complaints about my pay or anything, but there was no way for me to advance, as there was an engineer senior to me (and just as good) next in line for the team-lead position.

My new team (pre-sales DR architecture) is spread out all over, and only one even bothers with a desk to go to. While we all get along, and chat on the phone and over IM all the time (I'm on the phone for 3-4 hours every day), it's not nearly the same. With the new job, the work definitely comes and goes in spurts, so the flexible work hours are a plus; sometimes I take a long lunch and clock-punch right at five, and others I have to work a long day to get a sales proposal rolled out in time. I miss carpooling with my wife (20 minute commute), and I miss shooting the $hit with my coworkers.

I need to do better job finishing the setup of my home office, so I have a "real" place to work besides the kitchen table or the screened-in porch (namely, I need a whiteboard and bigger monitor.) I need to be better about getting dressed in actual clothes in the AM instead of when it's time to leave the house next. I could get myself a cube assigned by my employer at my former site (probably the same cube I left if I wanted it) but it's just not the same hanging around your former co-workers if you are now doing a completely different job (not to mention I'd probably routinely get asked for my advice there.)

In the end, I won't say it's better or worse, but it IS very different. My new job works better from home than the office, and my old one was better done in the office.

telecommute from home 4 days a week - love it (4, Informative)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 8 months ago | (#44601201)

Mondays - in the office. Face time. Dept meetings.

Tuesdays through Fridays - telecommute from home.

Tools work provided: laptop, VPN RSA dongle, cell phone.

Tools I provided: DSL, home network (netgear router connected to the DSL), desk, chair.

Love it! Allows me to sleep in till 8:15am, then walk to work PC, boot it, and start my workday at 8:30a. I do not have to drive to and from work. Saves a tank of gasoline a week, and wear-and-tear on the car. No worries about fwy traffic, car accidents, or road rage making me late to work.

Also allows me to be home, working, when the kids get home from school. Money savings there, too, by not having to have them in after-school daycare. Money savings not having to eat out, can eat what is in the fridge.

Stress is lower, too. No having to hear nonconsensual gossip or phone calls from co-workers in office cubes around me. Do not have to wear 'office attire', and usually wear t-shirts and shorts at home. Can play music I like, as loud as I like, as long as I am not on a work phone call. Can use my network to listen to youtube, or surf the web on my non-work PC while I work, no worries about triggering IT alert that I am accessing non-sanctioned websites, as for that I am not using work's network or PC.

Caveat: a person has to have a strong work ethic, and make sure to get the work done, and even do extra work, to keep boss 'happy' that you are deserving to be allowed to be a telecommuter. I always pick up work phone in first or second ring. I always work an extra hour a day, minimum (I never work under 45hrs a week).

Re:telecommute from home 4 days a week - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601913)

Same here. Could never do that if I was not an independent consultant (Database and app dev, BI). I currently have 2 customers, one day on site for both, and the remainder of the week I work as 'remote'.

They are happy because I only charge about 25-30 hours to each, so in their books I do not cost as much as a permanent resource. All this for about $65 per hour. Not bad at all, considering the cost of living here (Montreal) is fairly low. And I never work for a minute unpaid.

Been consulting like that for the last 8 years, and I will never go back to slave for a company as a permanent employee.

Re:telecommute from home 4 days a week - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44602089)

What is this "nonconsensual gossip" of which you speak? It's so much more fun to talk about people you actually get to see now and then!

Re:telecommute from home 4 days a week - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44602819)

...I hear Mr. Flash likes to work at home...

Re:telecommute from home 4 days a week - love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44603731)

Mine is this. I work from home all but 8 weeks of the year. Those 8 weeks they cover my cost to come in: flight, hotel, meals, car. Long-term planning happens while I'm on-site, and through skype when I'm off site. I'm somewhere between a developer, the code repository/migration guru, a business analyst and a manager. I spend most of my time reviewing other folks' code or assigning problems out to the right people, which I do better than anyone else because I've made sure my knowledge about our business functions is better than anyone else.

The pros: I get to sleep in until 9 because I'm an hour ahead of them by a timezone and my commute is zero. Don't get interrupted anywhere near as much. On-site, someone walks into my cube upwards of 10 times a day. Off-site, I get two, maybe three phone calls. Everything else is asynchronous. Get to do some minor chores around the house - laundry, dishes, etc. Don't have to get dressed up, I can play music or have TV on in the background. On a slow day I can work 6 hours and watch a movie. I know the busy days will be more frequent, and since I'm paid hourly, I don't have any complaints that I average a 50 hour week. Don't have to either wake up earlier to pack a lunch or spend money eating out. Can get exercise at lunch, walking the dog and don't feel bad about being sweaty. I get gold status on airlines and hotels from the trips, plenty of point to take a free vacation with. Coming in for those weeks I can catch up on movies at the theatre or books on the plane since I don't usually have time for either at home. I get to meet up with old friends who still live where I used to on those 8 weeks. If we need to move for my wife's job in a year or two, don't have to scramble to figure out what to do for my job.

Cons: The traveling in ~8 hours each direction door to door, and being apart from my wife is not the greatest for those 8 weeks. No paid vacation, 401k or health. Gets easy to be lazy at home, but being paid hourly makes it much less tempting. Sometimes hard to figure out a problem when you can't go down and look at someone's screen -nobody on the non-IS side uses skype. Since I'm not an employee, the process to get a cost of living raise each year like the employees do is a pain. There's one coworker I miss shooting the breeze with each day when we were cube-mates, but you still get about half of it with skype.

My story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601245)

I did freelance for over a year once I learned enough programming to quit my day job. I would find a job that took 2-6 weeks and work like crazy and then take 1-2 off, go to events, meet people, and look for more work (I highly recommend if you're not full-time "home-sourced," you find some job that pays enough regularly so you are not constantly worried about rent between jobs.). The greatest part is you can travel and work, and I think every developer with a yearning for adventure should try it. We're at a period where this is possible, but it may not last forever.

Eventually, I plateaued. It's hard to learn new tools, techniques when you are also relying on yourself for survival. I am also self-taught and did not know how to go beyond using Wordpress/Drupal/other CMS's. I shopped around and found a great team that has helped me learn how to be a better programmer and also how to start a company. It's been a year and I've got what I wanted and would like to start my own team/partnership now.

Additional Considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601343)

One is your electricity. Your computer is probably minimal but if you live in non-temperate zones, your heating or cooling will be running while you are there. Expect a higher electricity bill.

Pets. Nothing like an excited large parrot yelling at the top of his lungs to generate fun questions on a conference call.

While you may not have a boss physically watching over your shoulder, expect some sort of software metrics to gauge your " productivity ".

Still, working from home beats the hell out of the daily commute, and the health benefits from not being forced to work beside the idiot who comes to work sick because taking sick time looks bad :/

Re:Additional Considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44605417)

Software metrics raises an interesting point. I spent the best part of 9 months writing an in-house form generating application for a construction company, a job which I obtained through a good friend. When it came to assessing performance, I made sure I submitted a heap of changes and improvements each day to keep him happy. As it was my first major freelance software assignment and I hadn't written any code in over 10 years, I wanted to keep up appearances and do well. Even when and if the daily improvements and additions were discarded, it still showed the boss I was actively productive for 5 days a week. The end result was (if I say so myself) a masterpiece of software design =D but truly, there have been like 5 bug reports in the 2 years it has been in production, which IMO says a lot.

BA-From-Home (more or less) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44601743)

After a decade of working in the social work / child welfare world, I got headhunted by a smallish software company that noticed I was using some technical solutions I made up on my own to solve some of the issues I had with structural/process gaps in the landscape of the job ... a wiki of social services providers here, a small app that visually mapped out family risk factors there, simple stuff. They hired me as a proto-Business Analyst - they needed a guy with industry intel with a little technical background.

I started working from home, three years ago, with about a third of the year being business travel to customer's locations to elicit specifications/requirements/best-place-to-get-a-sandwich. The other 2/3rds I'm at home, authoring, following thru - you know the deal.

The first three months were "WOO HOO I CAN MAKE DOLLARS IN MAH PAJAMAS!" mixed in with "OMGWTF IS A BUSINESS ANALYST??" Very tough time, that was.. didn't really know anything about the world (universe[metaverse]) of software projects, and i had a lot to learn (still do!)

The next three months were spent figuring out how to ensure there was a clear distinction between work-me and not-work-me.

Some advice I initially thought was hare-brained was stuff like "get in your car and drive around the block, or get a coffee, before "going to work", or "dress like you're at the office." These and may others were surprisingly effective.

It's /very/ easy to fall into the trap of gradually slipping into "Always at home = "Always at work.. Having a place in your home that is ONLY ONLY ONLY for work is very important. Being able to tell your employer that you vanish at 5pm, and will reappear at 8am the next workday is dicey, but very important.. one recalls the story of the frog in the pot of water, as the temperature is turned up..

Fighting distractions is a constant battle. I originally scoffed at those applications that one installs to 'cripple' the machine into only doing workish things.. but I've been considering them a lot lately.

If you can, book a week each month to set up shop at the company's physical office. Getting folks to have a face to the name will pay off tremendously later (unless you're miserable at social situations), and you can use that time to remind yourself what working in an office is like: you'll be more grateful for the home office, and also take a little of the energy and pace of the work-office home with you.

Zom Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44602159)

I raed where he used the Zim Wiki application to take notes and keep other information. The drawback to it is that the data files are all local and the app is not network aware.

That problem is easily solved by the use of Dropbox. I have that installed on all 5 computers I use and Zim is installed locally and directed to the data in my Dropbox folder. Problem solved, plus automatic multiple backups.

A home office is hard to pull offf (4, Insightful)

chad_r (79875) | about 8 months ago | (#44602289)

The article is rather light on the cons of working at home. I have been self-employed for 7 years consulting for my ex-employer. Over the years I've come across various pitfalls of being paid hourly, such as:

  • - Sitting in a regular chair instead of an office chair, resulting in a year of back problems before I figured it out
  • - Your coworkers think you're rich because you make a good hourly amount, without considering they get paid vacation, health care, 401k and many other benefits
  • - For any errands or chores that have to be done during work hours, you're expected to do it since your family can't leave work to do it
  • - You can't work after hours because you're expected to be with the family
  • - You can't work after hours because there is way too much noise and interruption, and no door is thick enough to block it out
  • - It's difficult to leave the house, knowing how much it's effectively costing you
  • - With no place to walk to, you could go a whole day and not walk more than 200 steps
  • - Less than ideal lighting and air movement
  • - Time goes much slower with nobody around, and 6 hours feels like a full day
  • - Vacation is unpaid, so you're less likely to take one
  • - Being at home 24 fucking hours a day for weeks on end

My goal was 6 hours a day of work, and it was difficult most days to fill this amount. I got crazy after 6 years, and am now renting an inexpensive office space. It's a much better environment for many reasons, and the additional hours I can put in per month makes it pay for itself within a day. I have an office mate, and even though he works in a different field, it makes a difference having someone else around. It has been great being able to work in a real office environment, and I'm a more cheerful person as a result. Lessons learned the hard way.

Re:A home office is hard to pull offf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44603505)

I don't understand why "working from home" means "no vacation" and "bad lighting". I'm sorry things things happened to you, but they could happen no matter where you sat while you worked -- they aren't aspects of working from home.

Re:A home office is hard to pull offf (1)

BVis (267028) | about 8 months ago | (#44606877)

Working at home is not for everyone. It sounds like you're not doing a great job of managing it.

Re:A home office is hard to pull offf (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about 8 months ago | (#44606897)

All of these fall into two categories
1) Environment- You have contorl over this. If you fail to control your rnvironment, it is your own fault.
2) self employment- True even if you worked at a clients office

None of these are elated to 'working from home' except maybe the 'being at home for days on end and no place to walk to. Both can be fixed by getting off your ass and exercising.

Grammar in heading? (1)

Evil Pete (73279) | about 8 months ago | (#44602749)

Come on editors, that should be "a Homesourced IT Worker". There should be an "a" before a consonant sound and an "an" before a vowel sound. Just google it, here's an example [dailywritingtips.com] .

two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44602847)

as someone who works from home, wanted to add to two of the points:

1) commuting - it doesn't just save you $$ in fuel & vehicle maintenance - for me, personally, the major advantage is the YEARS out of your life it saves you in completely unproductive, often stressful, time - mostly waiting... waiting for traffic, waiting for a train or bus, waiting, waiting, waiting...

2) family life - this is arguably the MOST important aspect of working from home, beyond just getting out of your bathrobe and leaving your house occasionally. there is a trap you can fall into - especially if you are your own boss - of basically being "unavailable" to your family, with whom you share your home, because you are "working"

if you have (young) kids, you walk a fine line between "I'm here for you" and "don't bother me right now" - you don't want to cultivate the kind of environment where your loved ones feel like they need to make an appointment to get some attention...

My own experience WFH (1)

n1ywb (555767) | about 8 months ago | (#44602957)

I've been working from home for two years, the first year as a full time employee at a software consultancy, the second year as a self employed contractor.

At the first job, pay was good, benefits were ok, and work paid for my phone, unlimited data plan, and a high end laptop, with a docking station and a big monitor, and loads of licenced commercial software including a $10,000 GIS platform. We used Skype chat a lot, both video and audio, and email. There was a monthly newsletter and an annual meeting where everybody was on site for a couple of days. Of course because they had an office and offered me an on site job and I chose WFH I didn't get to deduct my home office expenses because it was at my convenience, not my employer's. Economically I think it was sort of a wash. The reasons I left had nothing to do with working from home. All the tradeoffs mentined exist. For me it works.

For the last year or so I've been working as an independant consulting out of my home office. I can deduct more stuff but I also have to buy all my own equipment, my own insurance, etc. Plenty has been said about independant contracting that doesn't bear repeating here.

The biggest issue for me is filtering out the distractions created by my family and overcoming monotony. It's hard to explain to a rambunctious two year old why they can't bang on daddy's office door. Days go by and I don't leave the house. And it's been tough to explain to my wife why I need to be able to talk a walk without taking the kids with me. "But you work from home!" "Yes, until 5pm I am working, even if I go for a walk." Engineers need to go for walks sometimes.

WFH Formally Illegal in Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44605497)

For perspective, it use to be illegal in Chicago to work from home, even a programmer. That was around 1980. I've worked at home, initially illegally, writing software. For me, the best thing about working at home is not working at home. I like to work in cafes, libraries and such. The WiFi onslaught of early 2000's liberated me to use the Internet outside of home. The web allowed me to work and travel most anywhere. I'm out of my basement and harvesting my oysters. I've always had the ability to focus on task completion. YMMV.

lots of remote people at Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44606769)

I used to work for Dell Services (used to be Perot Systems). So I can't speak for all of Dell, but we had alot of people working from home and alot of people in remote offices. We had people all over the country. People working from home is not any different than us contacting the SAs in Texas while we were in Virginia. I cannot speak to how Dell corporate operates, but this group had alot of experience with remote people. It worked well. However, it takes the RIGHT people and the right management.

Some tidbits
1. Everyone needs to be on IM. Its critical. You can't produce without it.
2. Staff needs to be proactive and different people need different assignments. You can't have work from home and remote people who just sit there.
3. Need to have weekly meetings. So everyone can say what they are doing. Your manager needs control of this. These would go really long. A small number of people would monopolize most of the time discussing what they are doing. I think its because they are paranoid people will think they are not working at home. My manager was not very good at managing this. Everyone worked, but people were afraid their work would not be seen.
4. Everyone needs Cell phones and there needs to be a spreadsheet with everyone's number. Always carry it. No excuses.
5. Staff will notice when other people don't work. you need the right people and the right management for this to happen. However, in that environment the staff will inform management when a consensus of 'get this guy out of here' gets done. Management needs to eliminate people the staff wants gone. We don't want to work harder because someone is clearly not doing anything. In many places people won't say anything and it won't work in that situation. Your peers know if you are working. This is a 'team' and it is obvious.
6. Document what you do. We didn't do a good job of this. I think a wiki would work well also.
7. plenty of conference lines and webmeetings: People will need to set up conference or webmeetings on the fly. if they have to wait for them, it kills performance. company saves alot on office space so this can be afforded.
8. systems thinking: This goes with proactive. Dont break other peoples stuff and go 'well my stuff works'. Its bad enough when someone down the hall does it. Its way worse when everyone is remote. People who dont 'get' this need to go. The staff needs to feel empowered to tell management to get rid of people like this.

I dont think this can work everywhere. I don't think most people know how to manage this or are pro-active enough to for this to work. You can do 1 or 2 people doing it. They did this for a long time where I worked before. People would switch projects and just work from home since its cheaper than flying them somewhere. They also save money on office space. It was in the culture. I can't stress enough that the staff needs to feel empowered to assess their co-workers. I can't tell you how annoying it is to have remote people who are NOT responsive and you need them. People who don't really do their work and you have to work harder. They have to go. You can't work with them. This has to come from the staff. You don't have to be a 'rockstar'. You have to actually work and be considerate of your peers. I have been on IM chats where we get a consensus on someone who is pissing alot of us off and we went to management to get rid of this person. Person goes through HR warnings, etc... then is typically gone. We are not being mean, but I don't want to work until 11 pm to make up for someone who takes 3 days to respond to me (repeatedly). They have to just get out. Its not hard to be considerate of co-workers.

If not done correctly remote people will destroy productivity. Most of it is personality and a big chunk of it is the right kind of management. I think if you are going to switch to a remote work environment, it needs to be slowly phased in so people can feel it out. Dell did it primarily to save money on office space. That being said, my office was less than 6 miles away and I preferred to drive into work everyday. I don't like being couped up at home. It was pretty empty. I was in the office more often than my manager. I just chose to do it. It didn't bother me.

More Productivity & Exercise is what I got. (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about 8 months ago | (#44606895)

I'm more productive when working from home. Much less distraction from coworkers, and much happier working while being able to listen to the radio station of my choosing. And one of the biggest benefits for me has been the exercise. When I was in corporate America, I had to drive an hour through rush hour twice a day (to work and back) and never had time to exercise. When I switched to working from home, I used the time I got back to exercise and started routinely riding my bike at least 15 miles each morning. And since I don't have to worry about staying workplace-presentable and sweat-free, sometimes during my lunch break I even skip the meal and just do an aerobic routine right in front of my computer while watching one of the many available for free on YouTube. I've lost 25 lbs since the day I started working from home.

They don't like not being able to micromange you. (1)

BVis (267028) | about 8 months ago | (#44606931)

I'm in a job search at the moment, and pretty much every time I raise the possibility of working remotely (hellish commute for any jobs in nearest big city) I can hear my resume hitting the circular file over the phone. Most workplaces do not value employees as the asset that they are, but instead view them as walking cost centers who work as little as possible not out of valuing their time appropriately, but out of spite for their employer. The first rule of managing costs is know what is going on with the things that cost you money, and most short-sighted employers interpret that to mean "breathe down their necks to intimidate them into working harder than they should for the money we're paying them."

Some employers are enlightened and make it work, others see a request to work remotely as sandbagging and an excuse to goof off instead of working. These places only think you're working if your butt is in the seat where they can see it.

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