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Would You Forfeit a Raise to Work From Home?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the job-incentives dept.

Businesses 107

harryk asks: "There seems to have been a fair amount of talk about new jobs, telecommuting, and fair pay recently, so I pose this question: Would you forfeit some or all of a potential raise to work from home? My company is notoroisly bad about giving decent raises so I have been contemplating offering an alternative to receiving a raise, or a reduced raise with an expense reimbursement for telecommuting? What are your thoughts?"

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107 comments

Would I? (4, Interesting)

Jhon (241832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867745)

Not only would I, I have.

I currently work about 60/40 (60% at work, 40% at home). I also live about 5 minutes away from my work. My current employer also allows me to get up and leave in a moments notice (barring anything nasty or important going on at the time).

I've been offered (by another lab) up to twice what I currently make to move out of state and I've also been offered significantly more by other local businesses -- but would require more 'face time' and more than an hour commute. (Yeah, one hour drives (or more) are LOCAL in LA).

Frankly, I'm not in it for the money. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm in it to be able to comfortably be able to take care of my family and myself. I earn enough to pay for a home, put my kids in a private school, buy myself or my wife the occational "toy" or "trinket" and save for our retirement.

Between my wife and myself, my kids have never been picked up from school by ANYONE other than us. Other than medzmama (grandmother), they've never had a baby-sitter. I CAN work crazy hours, but I also get to spend a lot of time with my children. I actually get to RAISE my kids! You can't pay me enough to lose that.

An extra benefit has been the ability to aid my sister (who recently had a stroke) in her recovery. I'm able to take a half-day off once a week and help her read her mail, fill out her bills and make what ever calls she needs to make. So, would I give up a raise for this ability? In a New York minute.

Re:Would I? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11867955)

sister (who recently had a stroke)

LOL

Not all telecommuting is flexible (4, Insightful)

Fished (574624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868116)

I have been telecommuting for over 5 years now. There was a time when I had the kind of flexibility you describe. However, a year and a half ago my position was sold to a major IT outsourcer (whom I will leave nameless). I'm still telecommuting, but I no longer have even the flexibility that one would expect in a normal, professional office environment. I even have to get permission to leave my house for lunch! (And, yes, the manager DOES check.)

Not saying that every telecommuting situation is like this - like I said, I spend four years in a situation much like you describe. But don't assume that telecommuting implies anything relaxed about the work environment.

(BTW, if anyone needs a top-flight, alpha geek UNIX geek with programming and network skills and over 10 years UNIX and linux experience, who HAS to telecommute because he lives in the middle of nowhere, send me an email. :)

Re:Not all telecommuting is flexible (2, Insightful)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868194)

Telecommunitng is much different from working from home as your own boss.

While my job wouldn't differ much if I worked in an office, I have to do all of the business-running bullshit associated with being your own boss.

I deal with clients on a day-to-day basis regarding the simple fact that they have not paid me yet. This alone is enough to make one go mad, as it's something I should have to do, but yet I do. Clients are told up-front what my rates and fees are, and when they don't pay, I withhold delivery. It's a game I like to play which I would hope gets the message across, yet doesn't.

Them: "Where's Project X?"
Me: "Right here. Please send me my money."
Them: "Alright. One minute."

One week later:

Them: "Where's Project X? It's a week late?"
Me: "It was ready last week. Where's my money?"
Them: "One sec."

Etc, etc.

Re:Not all telecommuting is flexible (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871470)

Clients are told up-front what my rates and fees are, and when they don't pay, I withhold delivery. It's a game I like to play which I would hope gets the message across, yet doesn't.

Thats a really clever idea, reminds me of something I did recently in my Business Studies lesson, something about companies withholding payment, I had a sheet of excuses that are frequently used by companies and counter questions to get payment fast, one of them goes like:

Company ABC: Why have you not paid?
Company XYZ: Check is in the post! Honest!
Company ABC: Can I have check and postage details then?
Company XYZ: errr... shit

I think it would be great to work at home to be honest, saves time and money traveling and would let me have more sleep due to less traveling; more sleep=better worker. I would forefit a raise for working at home because (expecially if I have to pay for travel) it would probably be cheaper in the long run, as well as food costs. Cooking something is usually quite cheap, buying fast food is relitivly expensive in comparason.

Re:Not all telecommuting is flexible (2, Insightful)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872015)

I use Paypal for many clients, so obviously if they haven't paid me, both they and I know, since it's instant.

The working from home lifestyle *is* great. As you said, you get more sleep, you can eat when you want, and more importantly what you want (my lunch usually consists of steak and vegitables, my big meal of the day). I love the freedom to go out to a store or get to the bank during regular banking hours. I'm under the impression a lot of stores are geared towards either people with no job, or people who work from home, simply because they're only open 9-5.

Additionally, I live on the West coast, and deal with a lot of people in EST (Ontario and the US East coast in general), so I'm at work for 6AM and effectively can end at 2, which gives me an afternoon to enjoy however I want. Remember, I'm *AT* work at 6 because I live at work. I don't have to get up to start commuting at 6. Not to mention since I deal with clients through Internet mediums, I don't really even have to be sitting at my desk all day. I can be in another room and hear an IM alert, and come by to check.

Re:Not all telecommuting is flexible (1)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870366)

(BTW, if anyone needs a top-flight, alpha geek UNIX geek with programming and network skills and over 10 years UNIX and linux experience, who HAS to telecommute because he lives in the middle of nowhere, send me an email. :)

Oh, I forgot to add "AND allows me to /. at work" ;-)

Re:Not all telecommuting is flexible (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11888250)

Geeze, that manager sounds like a helluva guy. :\

I'm surprised he hasn't put software on the network to observe your activity.

Re:Would I? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11868803)

If you can work from home that means that your job isn't hard enough. Try challenging yourself with a real job, loser.

Re:Would I? (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868932)

(Yeah, one hour drives (or more) are LOCAL in LA).

Man, I thought Louisiana was a pretty laid back state, too. I guess I won't be moving there any time soon.

(I live in Atlanta, and the "Metro area" takes more than an hour to traverse; commutes probably average about 45 minutes here)

Re:Would I? (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869394)

That's LA (Los Angeles). It's not uncommon for people living in Lancaster to commute to work in Downtown LA -- between a 60 min and 75 min drive -- ONE WAY. It's also not uncommon to see 2 or 3 year old "used cars" with over 150k-200k miles on the OD.

Re:Would I? (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869964)

If it's simply 60 - 75 minutes due to traffic it would be less miles that wouldn't explain 150/200k on a two year old car. If it were a long driving distance (say Thousand Oaks) it would not be local.

I lived in North Dallas and worked downtown and it took 1 hour to get to work and 1 1/2 hours to get home every day (18 miles). Quickly I decided to move back to Oklahoma where I accepted a job in north Oklahoma City that was 35 miles from my house but took 35 minutes to get there. Slowly but surely I got sick of that so I started my own business in my own town. Now I'm getting tired of driving across Norman. I need to build an office with a loft I can live in. That way I just take an elevator down to work.

Re:Would I? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869577)

I used to live in Atlanta. No lie, 19 miles 1 way, morning traffic using 75 South was 70 to 90 minutes. Got tired of that. And then the 3:30 to 7PM traffic at the 285/75 is just horrible. 575 traffic was gridlocked when I left.

Yikes! How old is your sister? (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872297)


An extra benefit has been the ability to aid my sister (who recently had a stroke) in her recovery.

Sounds from your note like you're maybe 35-ish.

I sincerely hope that you were the youngest and she was the oldest - maybe 15 or 20 years older than you [although, even then, 50-55 would still be waayyy too young to have to experience such a debilitating event].

I would forfeit my raise for the last 2 years! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11867749)

Hell, it's been almost zero anyway. They don't even need to give me a raise for 2 more if I could work from home. Damn sluggish economy.

As Scott Adams once wrote (4, Insightful)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867756)

"Sometimes the cream rises in a different jar."

There are jobs out there that offer decent raises along with the ability to telecommute. If you current employer doesn't see the value in keeping his employees happy, then that's his tough luck.

BTW: no one is going to give you anything. You have to negotiate it. If you don't have good negotiating skills, well, maybe that's what you need to work on.

No, not at all. (4, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867775)

I'd go nuts without cow-orkers to talk too, different scenery and the social aspects of the office. I did work out of my house for a couple of years so I do have something to compare it to.

Remember that you're going to have to have your books, files, and possibly more computers at home, running up the power bill, causing wear and tear and taking up space. Think hard before you do this.

Re:No, not at all. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11868084)

This reminds of something that happened to me. One year in college I thought I was being clever by scheduling my classes so that on some days most of my classes were in the same building, some even in the same room. I thought this would make things easier. In reality it drove me nuts. Live and learn.

Re:No, not at all. (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871180)

Right now my high school classes (I'm a senior) are scheduled so that every other class/"event" (locker in the morning, lunch) is on the opposite side of the school.

I cross the entire school at least 8 times...at least it gives plenty if time to look at cute girls...except the main hallway lockers seem to house the ugly ones.

Re:No, not at all. (3, Insightful)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868148)

I worked from home for nearly two years. In addition to the points made above, when you work from home, you are always at work. The lines get seriously blurred and it becomes a real drag. Even now, I wouldn't want to work even one day a week from home.

Re:No, not at all. (1)

gmajor (514414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11883134)

Faced the same situation - it helps separating a portion of your residence to devote completely for work.

When I first started a work from home job, I ended up working from the bedroom of my then apartment. It was a real drag. I moved all of my work into the dining room, and I felt tons better.

Re:No, not at all. (4, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868184)

Don't forget one other very important thing -

If the managers don't see you, they don't think of you nearly as often. While this may not seem like a bad thing at times, it has one major downfall. If they don't think about you, they also don't think about your contributions to the company.

This is bad because when the time to cut people comes around, you aren't seen as being necessary (what does that guy do, anyway?). The same also applies to future raises and promotions...

There's a good solution to this. (3, Insightful)

devphil (51341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869805)


bladesjester raises a good point. As an answer, I'll point to my own current job [codesourcery.com], where I and everyone else telecommutes. Including the boss.

This raises its own unique problems of visibility and communications. (We're comfortable with our solutions, which I won't yammer about here. But these problems did need to be addressed, and they won't go away on their own; if your company tries something like this, you will need to actively tackle them.) If solved, though, telecommuting makes for a very nice visibility levelling field.

Most of work is being seen working (2, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875841)

Most of work is being seen working.

Try to deliver selected results in person to your manager, especially big or sought after items. If possible, include your manager's manager. It doesn't have to be formal, just in person.

Otherwise, even though their brain knows otherwise, they will be getting your work "from the computer".

Also, find a way to make the managers feel that they can contact you. However, be careful to reward planning, and prevent situations where crises are rewarded.

Re:No, not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871899)

You know your fellow cow-orkers really appreciate your respect!

MOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Re:No, not at all. (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#11892918)

I'd go nuts without cow-orkers to talk too, different scenery and the social aspects of the office. I did work out of my house for a couple of years so I do have something to compare it to.

When I started telecommuting, I decided to go all the way, and moved to a tropical country with good net connections. My expenses are so low that I could take a 50% pay cut and still be well ahead of the game.

Now I work from shady sidewalk cafes, sipping fresh-squeezed fruit juice for $1 every few hours and basking in the warm life-giving rays of 802.11b that saturate the area.

Who needs co-workers when you have an endless procession of passers-by to peoplewatch? All the distraction with none of the heartache.

Re:No, not at all. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11897935)

Which tropical country?

I can understand when people don't want to give the name of the company they work for, but not saying the country?

not compensation (3, Insightful)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867873)

Your creative thinking is a good start. I'm not sure that working from home equals fair compensation...but this comes down to how much it's really worth to you.

It does cut down on certain costs (commuting can really add up) and you can get your phone and broadband expensed, however, it may increment your electric bill slightly (almost a non-issue). The nice thing about it is that it usually saves your employer some money. Many municipalities offer tax breaks for companies who allow you to WaH. Furthermore, they can save on real estate costs.

Have you worked from home before? Many people I've worked with have found that it's more difficult to work from home (especially when it comes down to motivation). Furthermore, the same people generally found working at home depressing, since they're rarely able to get out of the house at all.

FWIW, other creative compensation packages that I've heard of (where an employeer doesn't have sufficient cash) involve stock options, or dividing salary into market rate and taking the remainder and putting it into extra vacation time.

Re:not compensation (5, Interesting)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868120)

Many people I've worked with have found that it's more difficult to work from home (especially when it comes down to motivation).

This is a problem that is difficult to overcome. One piece of advice that I once heard is that those who work from home ought to do this every day:

At 8:55am, step out of your home and take a quick five minute walk around the block. Arrive back home at 9am and go straight to a room (home office) that has been specifically set aside for working. At lunch, take another walk, and at 5pm, take yet another walk around the block. Once back home, do NOT go back into the "office" until 9am the next morning. It's very important to distinguish one's home from one's home office.

I realize this is impractical for many system-admins, as they're often "on call," and, while I don't work from home, I still think it's still a solid piece of advice.

Re:not compensation (3, Insightful)

esme (17526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869274)

I think it depends on how productive and disciplined you are.

Personally, when I'm working at the office, I goof off a lot. I read slashdot. I check out stuff at wikipedia. I browse amazon and on and on. But I'm also very productive, and can work like a dog when there's something time-sensitive to work on. I did the same when I telecommuted 2 days a week from a mile away. I did the same when I telecommuted full-time from 8 time zones away. And I've never had anything but glowing praise for my productivity.

The discipline to put the work away (mentally, too!) and relax in your free time is important, too. There's a much lower barrier to work when all your work stuff is in the next room, and you can just walk over to your computer/files/whatever. Taking a look at "one little thing" or reading "a couple of emails" can quickly turn into several hours of work.

And even if you're not actually doing work, just being in the same environment all the time can lead to blurring the lines between your professional and private lives. It can lead to having your work be at the edge of thought all the time, creeping into your thoughts any time you're not actively doing something else.

-Esme

Or build a little shack out back... (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872365)


You could easily build a nice little well-insulated work shack out in the back yard with no more than several thousand dollars worth of supplies from Home Depot or Lowes. Then just run an [buried] power line* out there and you're ready to go.

Have the wifie instruct the progeny on the cardinal rule: "Remember, no one interrupts Daddie when he is out back working in his cottage..."

*Your choice of buried CAT6 -vs- 802.11g wireless.

Re:not compensation (2, Interesting)

Triones (455073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875012)

This is assuming that you don't enjoy your work.
Otherwise, there's no point to distinguish the home office. I'd prefer a life where I can't differentiate work from leisure.

Re:not compensation (1)

a1291762 (155874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11894574)

I don't think I could get any work done at home. I've got a wife and a daughter. Getting even an hour of uninterrupted time in the evening/weekends is almost impossible (I usually have to stay up after they go to sleep).

At least I can concentrate on work when I'm at the office. It's relatively quiet too.

No way. (3, Insightful)

Rahga (13479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867889)

Just ask any working man or woman with a family to support... Now, family comes first, always. It doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing, even if you are in an office many miles away.

Working from home simply means family comes first more often.

Re:No way. (0, Flamebait)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868304)

My family contributes absolutely nothing toward their welfare (food, shelter, clothing, etc.).

My employer does.

In fact my family causes a great deal of wear and tear on their shelter (clothing too, but that's to be expected). I could've retired three years ago if I never got married. Single slashdotters, take note of that: marriage is unbelievably expensive, kids more so.

When my wife gets bitchy about my hours, I ask her if she likes to eat, sleep out of the rain, cold and other weather, and if she wants to return to that communist hell hole known as Canada (my opinion on Canada is well documented, and she shares it.) She shuts up.

Re:No way. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868599)

I agree. I got married a couple years ago, and when doing my taxes this year, entering my W2s and such first, a large (several thousand) refund was showing on the running total. Adding my wife's W2 in, and suddenly I owe $200. She makes half what I make, and did have enough withheld, and yet the tax penalty is huge.

So don't get married if you can help it at all.. While it helps on things like medical insurance, 10-20% a year more taxes just from being married sucks balls!

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11868774)

Why didn't you file separately then? Just make sure you don't both claim 100% of the same deductions and dependents -- IRS takes a dim view of that -- but it's an otherwise feasable "dodge" of a tax code that can't quite seem to special-case combined incomes in all its other 2335623721635742635623523245 special cases...

Re:No way. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868952)

Married filing separately has *huge* penalties. It's not an option.

You can't legally file single, you must file "married filing separately".

Re:No way. (0)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868891)

Your wife works?

I didn't think there was such a thing as a working wife: mine drops candy wrappers, and cookie crumbs on the way from the kitchen to the media room, after feeding the kids something out of a can, or a sandwich, and complains that I wasn't around to pick up the mess she made because I was at work.

I had to rip out the carpets and replace them with hardwood floors because of all the spilled soft-drink stains. Sadly, Coca Cola(tm) appears to corrode the finish if not wiped up right away.

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11869256)

Holy fuck man, get control of the situation. You are turning into a bitter person. Nothing is worth that.

Re:No way. (0, Offtopic)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869510)

I am Canadian, and thus subject to Canadian law if my wife returns to Canada: Canada and the U.S. have treaties regarding "deadbeat" spouses.

The feminazis there have lobbied for laws that basically make any accusation a woman makes against a man taken as fact, i.e. "he beats me"; but any accusation a man makes against a woman as requiring proof beyond a resonable doubt, i.e. "she does not meet her obligations under the marriage contract."

Furthermore, a husband must support a spouse in the manner to which she is accustomed, or go to jail -- one can't, for example, take a lower paying, but more-satisfying job, without worrying about the "deadbeat police". (Admitedly, this happens rarely, but it is a stick the commies there have to keep people making the highest possible wages and paying the correspondinh high taxes).

We are in the U.S. If she returns to Canada, I am taxed as a Canadian resident, and could not possibly support her lifestyle there, without triple the salary. Thus, I'd be a "deadbeat" husband, and subject to deporatation to Canada and jailing.

And people wonder why I hate Canada so much.

Now, about that "bitter", thing, you were saying?

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882365)

Hey, you should be happy. When you look like this [hollan.org], you can't expect much in the way of females... Does she at least look decent, and perform in bed on occasion?

BTW, what's with the names in your family? The husband has a woman's name, and the wife has a man's name! WTF? I wouldn't normally think twice about a guy named "Rene", but when you pair that up with a girl named "Quinn" (??) it really makes me wonder.

Re:No way. (3, Interesting)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868703)

Spend less on gas and transportation.
Spend less on nice clothes for work.
Spend less on the eating out that happens when you work.
Spend less on stress releaving measures you incure because of your commute and work environment.

Poof, there is your raise.

Re:No way. (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869258)

Spend less on stress releaving measures you incure because of your commute and work environment.

In other words, you'd make savings on alchohol and light drugs.

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11872295)

They don't supply you with performance/reality enhancing drugs at work?

I guess I'm picky and bring my own too.

Re:No way. (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11880875)

Spend less on gas and transportation. Save $100.
Spend less on nice clothes for work. Save $250.
Spend less on the eating out that happens when you work. Save $150.
Spend less on stress releaving measures you incure because of your commute and work environment. Save 1000 bucks on your monthly call girl tab.

Watching your job get shipped off to India when your boss realizes "telecommuting" workers can easily be replaced with "outsourced" workers....

Priceless.

I work from home (3, Insightful)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11867895)

and quite like it, but I don't believe that you should take a pay cut (or less of a raise which is the same thing) for lowering thier office costs. heck they should be giving you more money, That's what happens if you use your own mobile phone for business, why not have it with your house.

Re:I work from home (2, Insightful)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868005)

I agree with this. Provided you're still willing to go into the office when necessary, for meetings and stuff, you do not become any less of an asset for the company and therefor do not deserve to be paid any less than if you were still in the office. You save the company money by working from home. Sun Micro knows this and a lot of their low level employees are required to work from home part of the time. When they come in they grab any of the many generic cubicles to work in, kind of like hot-bunking on the old submarines.

That being said if you really want to work from home and you really don't want to change jobs and the only way your boss will let you do it is to take a cut or a lesser raise, then do it I guess, but know that your boss is an assclown.

One foot out the door.. why not both? (2, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868025)

If you ask me, the notion of "working from home" is basically a half-way approach towards separating yourself from your employer/employment in the traditional sense. While there are some who do this for practical/logistical reasons, many more people seem to be enamoured with the idea of being their own boss, and working from home is another step in that direction.

If you're thinking like that, then working from home is a good test to see if you have the discipline needed to run your own business without taking much of the risk.

But be aware that not everyone is capable of running their own venture, nor working productively when they're not supervised. You may or may not be one of these types of people that can benefit from such an environment.

Personally, I think that working from home should basically be phased into sub-contracting, because that's basically the direction in which people are going, and it makes more sense. If you employ someone, you need to be able to control them and regulate their time and productivity. Telecommuting is more like sub-contracting, where people are paid for their productivity and not the amount of time they're punched in. The half-way idea of employees "telecommuting" in my opinion is a bad idea for the employer. It's better for them to just cut the person loose and subcontract with them. In these cases the employee can usually have his cake and eat it too.. make more money, be autonomous, and have more control over his time. However, it may not be as "secure", but in reality, job security is a farce anyway.

Sure thing (2, Funny)

whoda (569082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868051)

I haven't got a raise for 5 years.
If I could NOT get another raise, AND work at home, that would be great. Someone let my boss know.

An emphatic yes (1)

eyeball (17206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868081)

I've considered the process of actually getting to work: getting ready to go out, get coffee, park, get settled into work, get my laptop running, and some of the same in reverse at the end of the day. Luckily I have a short commute, but it still averages 2 hours/day. That would be roughly 500 hours/year of my personal time back.

On top of that, when I do work from home I am much more efficient and can get a lot more done. At home I'm also more likely to work late occasionally (which I typically don't mind since I like the company I work for). Unfortunately, as a software engineer with difficult to measure project tasks, these types of benefits to the company are difficult to quantify, and as a result we're not officially allowed to work from home.

worth it to me (2, Insightful)

NaturePhotog (317732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868141)

I would give up a raise for it, but my time not commuting and the ability to work in my own space are more important to me than money. And I'm an introvert, so while I do miss interacting directly with a few people in an office, I definitely don't miss the watercooler moments, endless meetings, office politics, people invading your space, and the other things that go with a shared work space. Your mileage will vary, depending on the relative importance of time and money to you.

And you need to decide if working at home is right for you. It is for me, but as some other posters have mentioned, some people have a hard time with motivation, distractions or whatever if they're not in an office environment. It can be very easy to slide back and forth between 'home' and 'work' if you're at home, but you need to need to keep the two separated. I've heard of some work at home people doing things like walking around the block to start work, and walking back around the block to interrupt work, so that there's a distinct line between the two.

All that said, keep in mind that it's probably a wash or even cheaper for your company to have you work at home. There's additional telephone and 'net costs (be sure they pay for those), but that's one less office space they need, too.

I never want to work from home! (4, Insightful)

ageoffri (723674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868165)

If you can work your job from home there is a very good chance that someone from another country can do your job. I'm thinking about working from home but only for one day a week.

Re:I never want to work from home! (2, Interesting)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869214)

So given a choice of working from home, or having someone from another country doing your job, you'll take the later?

Whatever your boss does... (1)

OneFix at Work (684397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868190)

If your boss works from home she/he already know how to guage the quality and quantity of your work...so it's no different for them...

If they aren't working from home, they will most likely consider you a "slacker" and whenever there's a problem in your division, you will be blamed for it...

Already done it. (2, Interesting)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868276)

Of course I hadn't had a raise in the three years before I started working from home (the downside of working for a struggling software development shop), but I would have definately given up a raise to do it. I actually did get a raise, since I spend a lot less on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle.

As for the reimbursement part, I would expect the company to pay for anything reasonable. That said I use the laptop they supplied, my Internet connection gets used much more for personal use than for work, and the office is in this area code (no long distance calls), so I really don't have any reasonable expenses to charge them for.

Next year my wife and I are going one step beyond working at home, we are going "mobile", buying a motorhome and traveling the country. Many RV parks have Internet access of some sort, or satelite is an option (not a great one).

We know a couple of consultant friends that do this currently, they look for contracts nationally and when they find one, "pull up stakes" and move to the next town. Work six months in a southern climate and six months in a northern climate.

Re:Already done it. (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868306)

I forfeitted a raise for a 19" lcd, so yes.. think of all the benifits you get. 1) save gas, 2 save time, 3) save stress...

Re:Already done it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11868806)

> I forfeitted a raise for a 19" lcd

Wow that's dumb. Why didn't you just buy your own monitor with the raise?

Re:Already done it. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870393)

Satellite is a pretty good mobile internet access option. Someone I know just got satellite in the sticks and they get great downstream and acceptable upstream: I think they said 6 Mbps down, and 128 kbps up. Sure there's latency, but if you use cellular for telephone and don't play action games on the 'net the satellite should be fine.

Yeah, at least part... (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868452)

If it's a pretty substantial raise, I would forfeit *some* of it if possible... like any of us will be getting a raise THAT big anytime soon :) Working at home saves money in so many ways (discussed in other threads, examples being less $ spent on dress code, transportation, etc.). So a raise would *definitely* be worth it as a tradeoff.

Out of site, Out of mind (2, Insightful)

Hardwyred (71704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868518)

I thought about going to such an arrangement with my employer, but it has one huge drawback. When layoff time comes, you are the guy that no one ever sees and therefore no one will ever miss. No matter how much work you do, face time counts for a lot.

Re:Out of site, Out of mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11868991)

This is totally company dependant. I used to work at home for a large teleco, which has gone through many layoffs over the last few years, and I never even got considered for a layoff, which actually pissed me off, since the severences where good! I finally quit a year ago, because I found something better, and still work at home.

The key is having a good working relationship with not only your boss, but the other people you work with. If anybody gets any hint that you may not be pulling your weight than I agree you will be first on the chopping block.

No! (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868630)


Not only would I not suggest that I not receive as much of a pay increase, I would fight telecommuting with every argument I could muster. 'Cause, after all, if they are comfortable with you working 30 miles away and only contacting you by phone/email/internet presence, why not do the same thing with someone 4000 miles away? And, oh yeah, they'd save a lot of money too.

I think it's clear that America has become a service economy--which means you need to provide a service, not a good, to your employers. That means as much face time as you can manage, because, frankly, the good you produce can be done cheaper elsewhere. You need to keep your employer aware of how indispensable and irreplaceable you are, and that's easier to do in person than over the phone.

Re:No! (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869567)

I have seen this line of thinking elsewhere in this discussion and find it naive. Any employee is dispensible, if they work at home or not. Ultimately if a company decides to have layoffs or outsource it all comes down to money.

I have witnessed too many instances where layoffs where done purely based on cost savings and not based on talent or work output. Before offshoring was big, it was replacing high payed employees with low payed college grads.

Most companies, I have seen, make outsourcing deals purely on money, and there is no way an American can compete, salary wise, with someone in a developing nation. Rarely do PHB's care about the quality of a job, just how much it costs them to get it done. I'm not saying it's the correct way to think, it's just how they think.

Re:No! (2, Insightful)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870200)


Sure, any employee is dispensable. But my point was: why make it easy? Why write the rationale yourself? For example: in my job, I am needed on site, to rewire the LAN, screw things into the racks, unjam the printer. That's stuff that you can't do over the phone--and if they offered me a job that I could telecommute from, I don't think I'd take it.

I have also done my damnedest to build confidence in the value of having my skills onsite--maybe not enough to save my job, but it'd help if my users were polled on the decision before it was made. And some of my users are indeed important enough that they would be able to influence that decision.

Re:No! (1)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11877408)

I think the real issue is that your skillset caters to the very people that could easily work from home. If those people work from home then *YOU* don't have a job. Learn another skillset, increase your marketibility. Most importantly remember you are working for yourself and doing what you need to do to suceeed just as your employer is. There is nothing YOU can do to protect your job outside of keeping yourself marketable and taking advantage of the opportunities you have. Why Telecommute: * Tax incentives for employers in many states * Less office space/power consumption * Less Polution * Less Traffic * Lower Insurance Premiums (biggy for companies)

Well, should be pretty simple (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868676)

According to AAA, the average cost per mile to operate an automobile is 56.2 cents.

I personally commute round trip 90 miles per day, so the auto costs for me EVERY DAY are (in theory) on the order of $50. Now I drive an inexpensive, efficient and reliable four cylinder Honda Accord, so my costs are probably a lot less than average. For example I typically average nearly 35 miles/gallon. But it's safe to say I spend $25 every day I commute.

So right of the bat if given a choice of a $50 per week or telecommuting three days, I'd be better off telecommuting three days.

Next, consider my time. I work about eight to nine hours per day and spend two hours commuting. That means 11 hours of my day are devoted to work, nearly 20% of which are spent in the car. So looked at hourly, each day I telecommute, the cost to me (hour wise) is 20% less, which is like an hourly raise of 25%.

So again, for me with my long commute and a hypothetical three day a week arrangement, I save six hours out of 55 devoted to work, which is a 11% reduction in hour. Per hour, this is the equivalent of 12% raise, plus at least $75 per week for cost savings.

Re:Well, should be pretty simple (3, Interesting)

Samrobb (12731) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869005)

Well said... I had much the same thoughts. Right now, I have a good job that pays well. What I find myself lacking is time. Being able to telecomute, to me, would mean not just the ability to spend an additional 5-6 hours a week with my family, but also the ability to spend those hours meaningfully - taking 15 minutes to go out and play catch with my oldest, for example, or rock my youngest when it's time for her nap.

I'm not sure I'd take a pay cut to telecommute, but forego a pay raise? Sure. Even if I wasn't missing on my commute time, the added flexibility would more than make up for a few extra dollars in each paycheck.

do the math. (1)

maximus_greece (834236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868796)

If you can justify yourself working for home, and you have to decide weather to let go the higher paycheque agaist the comfort of working from home? Do the math. If the parking money you spend at work, or the transit money you spend at work (plus the travel time you spend to go to work multiply by the per hour pay) is greater than the raise at work, then work from home otherwise take the raise and work from work.

Can I send my wife to the office? (1)

schiefaw (552727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11868904)

My wife works 12 hour shifts on rotating days. I would love to work from home if I could do it alone, but there is no way that my wife would leave me alone for 8 hours every day. She already calls me around six times a day when she is off. I even go into the office when I am sick when she is off. She CANNOT be in the house with me and leave me by myself. It is nice, I guess, that she likes spending time with me. But, I am a geek with the requisite history of long periods of isolation. I am not used to being around people 24 hours a day. At least at work I can wear headphones and tune everyone out while I work.

I call bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11869647)

The above story does not ring true. Instead I offer the following, much more likely, substitutes.

1) Wife is imaginary.
2) Poster is not real geek.
3) Wife is uglier than sin itself.
4) "Wife" is homosexual male.

You decide.

Re:Can I send my wife to the office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882522)

I can't believe you don't want to spend time with me. WHAAAA..........

Re:Can I send my wife to the office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11897895)

Dumb question, but if this is the case, why did you get married?

Higher Pay != Higher Standard of Living (2, Insightful)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869007)

I am currently working a job where I make about 1/2 what I did previously as a contractor. Making tons of money is nice. It helped me put together a down payment on a house, buy a new car, etc. But I was flying all over the place and working long hours.

My current employer has no real dress code. We rarely see clients, so shorts, shirt and sandals are the dress code for the developers. Goals are more important than hours, and working from home is not an issue as long as the work gets done.

Now that the economy is picking up I am getting contacted by recruiters for jobs paying 150% to 200% of what I am making now but I am staying right where I am at. I have even received a couple of soft offers based on phone interviews, but I am not leaving.

I would say that you should not take less pay. When you tell an employer you will take a pay cut it is like telling them that you are worth less. I might make the "no raise, work from home" deal, but I don't think I would take the pay cut deal. HR managers (and many managers in general) just are not that insightful.

If you do end up getting to work from home, make sure to actual work from home. I know a guy who got fired when he started working from home. At the office he was getting work done. As soon as he went home he didn't get anything done. If you have anyone else at home I would recommend making sure you have an office (spare bedroom, etc) where you are physically seperated. Especially if you have kids at home!

Gladly! (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869024)

I currently live and work in ultra-expensive-housing Silicon Valley. I would gladly work for half my salary at the same job if I were allowed to telecommute from Idaho.

Flexible hours (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869325)

I'd take the option to work at home and forfeit the raise. My best time is from about 6:00 am - 10:00 am, so it's good for me to do my "energetic" things then - work on a coding issue, hit the gym, and so forth. Then during the day I like to be outside, especially if it's nice out. Mid-afternoon until dinner, I can do routine coding, documentation, and so forth. After dinner might be a bit of the same. I still put in the time, but it's on my terms.

Given my commute, yes... (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869454)

If it were possible, I'd forefit the 36 mile commute each way across the "Valley of the Sun" and a comparable raise if said raise would be the difference in fuel costs.

Then again, I drive a hybrid, and only spend $75/mo on gas. However, the 1.5-2+ hours spent driving each day, compared to spending it w/ my kids doesn't (or shouldn't) have a price.

However, given the hands on nature of server builds and that the data center's proximity to our office, telecommuting 5 days a week would be impractical. The raise would have to be pretty small to make up for it I suppose.

Heck Yeah (1)

BrittinFLA (829359) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869553)

Heck Yeah but I work in a Correctional facility (A.K.A. Prison) so I am not sure if the wife would like me bringing work home... :-)

The Benefits of the Office (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869628)

Working from home takes a lot more discipline than working in an office.

My home is very distracting, containing such diversions as books, music, a girlfriend, a well-stocked fridge, and three cats.

Work, on the other hand, has several things in its favor. If someone finds a bug, I can quickly walk over and look at the screen. If someone mentions something I'm involved in, I can chime in over the cubicle walls. Not to mention, the internet connection is faster.

I'm glad that I'm able to work from home on occasion, like when my car breaks down or my girlfriend is sick. But I wouldn't want to make it a regular practice.

The key is... (2, Informative)

mrhandstand (233183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869684)

1) make yourself visible. I'm a telecom...I've gotten a raise and a promotion in one year of employement for a Silicon company. Work hard, do more than is expected, and be creative. (It helps that I am 2 time zones earlier than my boss, AND I get into the office an hour earlier adjusted. He sees lots of email addressed before he even comes in.)


2) Leave work at work, and have a dedicated room for work. When I'm at work I stay there...just like a "regular" job. I "come home" at lunch, and again at dinner. If I want to check my email late, I do so from my couch, but I am respectful of my time with my family.

As for taking the pay cut...why? I am at least as effective as an in office worker...more so sometimes because I get distracted or dragged away less. It is easier to find an employeer that is openminded about telecommuting if A) they are a technology company, and B) they have employees spread all over the globe.

Telecommuting = less stress + big tax break (2, Informative)

twigles (756194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869722)

I telecommuted for over 4.5 years and have now gone back to the grind. Financial pluses to telecommuting include:

- Almost zero miles per day on your car, so no bills
- Ability to wear shorts and old tshirt, so no clothing gets old/worn out and needs replacing
- HUGE tax write-off. Essentially you write off the percentage of floor space you dedicate to your home office. I saved about 2,000+ per year from this.
- The ability to write off every single thing you buy that's remotely related to computing since it's for your home office....
- Don't have to buy lunch when you're too lazy to make it or just forget. You're already next to the fridge.

"Soft" factors:
- Almost no stress bc no traffic.
- Co-worker chatter consists of pets.
- If you have down-time you can play a video game instead of pretending to be busy (don't abuse this or it will end).
- You can shop for food or work out or something productive with the 2+ hours/day you're likely saving by not having to commute.
- When Friday rolls around you aren't sick of being out and just want to sit around the house. In fact you probably have cabin fever and want to go out.
- Loud thumping industrial doesn't bother your cube mates.

To get the tax break you have to be working at home for the *employer's* convenience, not yours, so get that cleared up. Overall you may take an upfront hit on pay, but it's worth a lot on the backend. Your health may improve due to quiet solitude and no commute also.

Ironic that you should say that.... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869880)


I'm getting ready to take on a better position that will require me and my family to move about 7 hours to the south.

So, in a manner of speaking, I'm forfiting my home for a raise.

No! (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869929)

Working from home interferes with work-life balance. There is nothing about my job that would keep me from working out of the house but I do believe that I would greatly miss the social interaction that I have at work. I am also afraid that is I was a work-at-home person it would be too easy for my family to assume it would be okat for me to do this and that around the house. In my book that would not be okay!

Finally, there would be no easy to enforce "quitting time" - I'd find myself working much too late into the evening.

No, If you want me to work from home, I better get a good raise!

no, but if things were different, yes (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11869996)

I wouldn't do it, but that's because A) I took a substantial pay cut when I accepted this job so I'm having trouble making ends meet, and B) my office is a mostly-enjoyable and productive work environment only a couple miles away.

If I were financially secure and didn't like going in to the office (i.e. my last job), I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Don't ask for a reduction (1)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870101)

Just ask to work from home two days a week, with no reduction. Depending on your home environment, you might even be more productive working at home, with fewer distractions from coworkers. Maybe they'll say no to two days, and give you one day. That would be a good start.

Some Tips on Telecommuting (2, Informative)

cypherz (155664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870661)

I've been telecommuting for a while now. Overall, Its been really really great.
Pluses:
1) I get to have my development environment exactly the way I want it. All my servers and linuxy bits just the way I want without having to get permission from some winders-usin' corporate admin.
2) I get to listen to music while I work, and no headphones! In most cube farms I've been in, we had to wear headphones to listen to music. Since there's no one home but me during the day, I can listen to what I want!
3) No time wasted on commute! I can get out of bed, grab some coffee and boot the machines. I'm billin' time and I haven't even had to get dressed yet! My 8 hours are done before the GF gets home!
4) Less money out of pocket: Less wear and tear on car. I'd be payin' for broadband anyway, and my phone is a flat rate as well. Less money spent on dry cleaning and laundering of shirts are other benefits.

Minuses:
1) You can't _really_ get away from your work. After a while, it begins to feel like work is always waiting "right over there" at the workstation. Weekends are more about getting away from the house now.
2) Not as much socializing. If you live for talking shop around the water cooler, then maybe telecommuting ain't the best way to go.

Yes (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870752)

I've taken a lower paying job for the option to telecommute. I HATE commuting.

But if you can keep the same rate and telecommute, you have in a way gotten a raise to your hourly rate. Take your daily salary and subtract parking, gas, tolls, vehicle wear and tear (or bus/train fare if you live in an area with public transit) then divide by your work hours plus your commute time plus the time it takes you to de-stress from your commute; you'll have a better "real" hourly rate with telecommuting.

For example, if you figure a $50/hour rate, $10/day for parking and mileage expenses, an 8 hour day with a 1/2 hour commute each way, your net rate with time and money wasted driving to work is only $43.33!

Hard to Say... (2, Informative)

jkakar (259880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870802)

I work from home 3 or 4 days a week and come into the office when I'm needed--typically during planning or integration phases. The thing I've found is that I'm *way* more productive at home. I don't have my friendly co-workers to chat with, I'm harder to interrupt, etc. I get about double the amount of work done at home than work.

I really enjoy working from home--I've learnt how to keep the work/life separation, which took some amount of learning. I'm not sure that I would accept less pay to work at home since my output is significantly better.

Diary of a Telecommuter (2, Informative)

woobieman29 (593880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870879)

Here are some point to consider that I have discovered over the past 6 years of telecommuting. Note that I work as a Sales Engineer, which requires about 40% travel time, which might mean that I spend a bit less time at the home office than you will.
1) Telecommuting should not be a replacement for a raise, at least not in my estimation. Yes, you are receiving a benefit from the company, and that may be worth some money to you, but consider for a moment the reduction of costs that a company sees by not having to provide you with an office. Lower space requirements, less power/utility usage, etc. In some cases companies will pay you for power used by business equipment at home, you can save that as a negotiating point knowing that if they don't want to reimburse you for this, in many cases you can write this business expense off on your taxes (IANAA - check with your tax pro first!!).
2) Do not try to do this if you have problems with self-motivation. It is difficult to keep yourself motivated when the lure of all of your toys at home is pulling you to do other things! If you are not strong-willed enough, you will fsck yourself, and any other people at the company that depend on your job getting done.
3) You need to take extra steps to make sure you are not invisible to the power people at your company. Make damn sure that the important people know exactly what you bring to the company, and that your role is not overlooked. You will not have the benefit of being in close proximity to decision makers, and this can screw you up royally. Some tips: Make a regularly scheduled visit to the office (once a week?) where you get some 'face time' with the people that are important. Step up the level of email/phone communication with managers and peers to let them know that you are not on a "Telecommute Vacation".
4) You need to have a defined, out of the way workspace if you have a family or other distractions. Make sure that any family members know that a) office supplies in this are are off-limits, and b) When you are in your 'office' you are unavailable.

I hope it works out for you. Telecommuting has been a wonderful arrangement for me.

Take both (2, Interesting)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872271)

Why offer to take a pay cut? If you are valuable tell them you want to work from home. Start high and then negotiate down. Never start at what you are willing to do. Start high, with the offer of "I want to work from home", then if they push offer to take a "slightly lower raise, by a few percentage points". Then work em from that point. If you are important to the company you can have your cake and eat it too.

Sounds promising (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875358)

In my case:

Reduction in travel costs ~ $40pw
Reduction in food costs ~ $10 pw

That's an effective rise of a couple of thousand straight off. You may also get a substantial increase in personal time saved from not travelling (approx 10 hours a week in my case) which even at minimum wage is worth thousands, and the actual value of extra free time worth a lot more than that to me.

everybody wins (1)

Wolfger (96957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11886918)

Being able to work from home is like getting a raise, only better. That's roughly 56 miles per day I don't have to drive, which means about $6 per day in gas alone, at least an hour and a half per day of my unpaid time is reclaimed. Not to mention saving wear and tear, and warranty miles, on the vehicle. Being able to work from home would be the equivalent of a 25% raise for me! And my employers wins, too. He no longer needs to provide working space for me, electricty for my lights or computer, gas for my heat, a cleaning service to keep my cube and toilet clean. Employers save money, employees save money. Seems like a no-brainer! So why is it so rare?

Time is money. (1)

Trixter (9555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11891427)

If working from home saves you 2 hours a day you would otherwise be commuting, then you've automatically given yourself nearly 3 extra weeks of time per year to do whatever you want it.

YES!! (1)

Auxon (97887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11896086)

Absolutely. Are you joking? Working from home is the best thing. Bathroom. Sleep in. Work late. Watch TV while working (if you can do that and still do well). When I work from home I am WAY more productive.

Do it in an instant. (1)

nosfucious (157958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11897846)

Melbourne AU, commute between 45 minutes and 1hr 15 one way. I felt like I was a life support system for my car (Petrol, insurance, maintenance, etc). Nearly spent more money on the car than rent. (Remember, not every country has Petrol as cheap as the US. Most countries i've been to it has costed been significantly more).

Move city and country. I can walk inside 15 minutes, or if it's snowing I can catch a bus or two in about the same. I don't have a car. My yearly bus ticket (actually covers the whole country) costs less than any ONE of insurance, petrol, renting a car park space.

I keep hearing stories that my coworkers have about thier cars and repair costs. Makes me laugh how much money I'm saving. I'm still ahead if I take occasional taxi or hire car.

The money saved NOT commuting is much better than a pay rise. It's tax free. ($100 saved is still $100 saved. Get a pay rise and out comes the tax, insurance, superannuation, blah, blah, blah).

Remember: If it's got tits or tyres, it means trouble.

Yes! (2, Insightful)

burdalane (798477) | more than 9 years ago | (#11897936)

If I had a job, I would rather quit it than than commute to work. I like spending all day alone, and telecommuting also reduces the risk of getting into a car accident or other transportation mishap. I don't get much work done at home, but I wouldn't get much work done at an office, either. Instead, I would just end up too miserable to eat properly or do anything other than drag myself in and out the door.
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