I was reading a WSJ article about the fact that some companies are recalling their telecommuters back to the office the other day with growing apprehension. Seems that some companies feel that better team work will result if everyone is sitting around the table “singing Kumbaya” to quote the article. As a mobile worker, it strikes me a bit odd that these companies didn’t seem to understand that in some cases, with some people, working remotely out of the office makes these workers more productive than if they were working there at the office. Some companies feel the added cost of things like Internet access doesn’t offset the amount of productivity gains that can be had by working in an environment where you are either in a more comfortable setting, or working closer with the customers by traveling to them. Its seems like a case of penny wise, dollar foolish (or maybe the modern version is ‘Euro’ ;) ) to me.

The article makes three points about how to maintain your telecommuting lifestyle: Perform well and make sure people understand you are performing well, Be visible (but not visible in some place like on the beach in Hawaii), and Make sure you are collaborating with your fellow workers. Just to add to this a bit, being connected might be another point to make. If you have the ability to take your phone extension with you — like a good VoIP system will let you — colleagues may never know that you are mobile. A good video chat system also seems to help people connect with you more than just a simple IM chat. I take with me a nice Snap-on camera:

Logitech QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks: Electronics

that lets me video conference with other folks anywhere I can get a good Internet connections (hint: coffee shops are usually too loud unless you also have a head set with a noise canceling microphone…also, sit with your back to a wall, so the space behind you isn’t busy with people moving around.) Yahoo IM has a nice video mode, and the price is right….free :)

Telecommuting and/or mobile working isn’t for everyone. You do need to be self-motivated to get things done, and can work without any supervision. If you do work this way, be sure to let your boss know how much better you both are for letting you work the way you are!!

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 | Posted by MobileDataGuy | Categories: Opinions, OtherStuff |