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Building a case for telecommuting

Esther Schindler (16185) writes | more than 2 years ago

IT 0

Esther Schindler writes "Many of us geeks prefer to work at home without distractions, but a lot of bosses still believe that if they don't see you, you must be lolling about, eating bon-bons and playing Angry Birds.

There may be many reasons a manager is distrustful of telecommuting but the phenomenon of what Albiero calls "presentism"—that is, only trusting and rewarding the folks you see at their computer is a major factor.

So it may be of some use to read through the research compiled by Diann Daniel that says Telecommuting Creates Happier and More Productive Employees (which naturally include fewer distractions and better work-life balance), and an accompanying infographic showing the environmental benefits from reduced commuting.

She follows it up with A Manager’s Guide to Telecommuting, which goes into some detail about how to manage, mentor, and support teleworkers. Some of this is general advice, but some of the tips are more specific:

It may seem like a lot more work—all this up-front addressing of communication issues that happen far more naturally in the office—but the upside is increased efficiency. Albiero sees this especially in the area of meetings. He speaks of one client who has now instituted a meeting format that is structured to allow for the first five minutes of all meetings to be "small-talk minutes." Thus, everyone knows they needn't call in for those minutes unless they want to join. That bonding time may appeal to virtual workers who need the personal connection, but for those who are swamped with other work, and those who simply feel such time is "wasted time," the extra five minutes gives them more productivity. The same client has instituted a policy to end all meetings 10 minutes before the half-hour or hour (depending on the length of the meeting) to allow for employees precious time before what may be their next meeting.

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