Patent Office Offers Telecommuters Free Home Broadband, Provided They Itemize Porn Consumption

from the It's-4PM-and-I-haven't-showered dept

Thanks to a surge in the number of home broadband connections, telecommuting has grown from a measly 4 million people in 1990, to 45 million people in 2006. An attorney editorialist for CNET is the latest to wax poetic over the idea of teleworking, and suggests that reimbursing home workers for their broadband connections is the latest trend. Of course he only offers one example of this -- the U.S. Patent Office, who has launched a new telework initiative to help cut traditional office costs. According to the new program, home workers can be reimbursed for their home broadband connection, but they have to "attest to the percentage of ISP services used for work-related purposes," which seems like a painfully untrusting and impossible endeavor (30% porn, 20% BBS trolling, 40% work, 10% p2p, sir). While the Patent Office may be embracing telework, companies remain decidedly split over the idea. Employees too are torn -- some loving the idea, while others prefer the office, for all the traditional reasons -- from a lack of face time when they telework, to a need to keep home and work distinctly separate. A new survey rehashes this old ground, noting that 60% of executives think telecommuting is a career killer, since they can't get adequate face time with the boss man. Many bosses meanwhile, no matter how many times it's made clear that users can be productive at home (judged by the quality of their work), remain utterly convinced that home workers are lounging around in slippers playing Soduku.


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  1.  
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    COD (profile), Jan 18th, 2007 @ 6:28pm

    My employer gave my office to the new VP Marketing and told me to work from home full time. I was already home 4 days a week anyway, but it was nice to make it official!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 6:35pm

    10 Years telecommuting....

    100% broadband reimbured from day 1.

     

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  3.  
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    Bill W, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 7:05pm

    100% telecommute since 2000

    I've was a sometimes telecommuter until the end of 2000 when I went 100%. The company has always paid for my broadband connection since that became available. And, yes, I do go to work in my slippers but I don't have time for sudoku; I'm online and on the phone all day long.

     

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  4.  
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    Stu, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 7:39pm

    I've seen studies that show that teleworkers actually put in more hours than when they were at the office. Sorry, I can't cite them - too long ago.

     

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  5.  
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    Yardley, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 7:48pm

    Karl, getting reimbursed for broadband ain't so unusual. My employer does it. My wife's employer would, if my employer weren't already paying for it... and she only works from home occasionally. And my previous employer was willing to pay for my then-dialup connection; that's going back 9 years now. I don't think you can call this the "latest" trend.

    I won't comment on the "4 pm and haven't showered" part...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 8:52pm

    Soduku == Sudoku.

     

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  7.  
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    MCeeP, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 9:19pm

    My home broadband is paid for by my company too. I'm a sys admin, so I have to do alot of work from at night, so they cover the cost of a basic 1.5 MB DSL line, anything above that is on me.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 9:25pm

    It's funny that the only people that seem to have time to comment are those that work from home, don't ya' think that says something about who is more productive?

     

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  9.  
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    zepp157, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 9:59pm

    I telecommute at times and my company reimburses my broadband service regardless. We can never truly account for downtime in the IT world. It's nothing new, just a growing model of how to cut cost of operations and leverage this cost elsewhere whenever possible. Productivity still remains at the accountable worker level, not the environment. It's a moral ethic and drive that appears to be disappearing in the American work place. 'I want it all, but I want someone to give it to me'-- seems to be the new motto more and more. The real question is it a reimbursement model only to off-set a meager salary and this little perk keeps you appeased enough to stay on someones payroll while not being reimbursed accordingly as it pertains to salary?

     

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  10.  
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    zepp157, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 9:59pm

    I telecommute at times and my company reimburses my broadband service regardless. We can never truly account for downtime in the IT world. It's nothing new, just a growing model of how to cut cost of operations and leverage this cost elsewhere whenever possible. Productivity still remains at the accountable worker level, not the environment. It's a moral ethic and drive that appears to be disappearing in the American work place. 'I want it all, but I want someone to give it to me'-- seems to be the new motto more and more. The real question is it a reimbursement model only to off-set a meager salary and this little perk keeps you appeased enough to stay on someones payroll while not being reimbursed accordingly as it pertains to salary?

     

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  11.  
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    webcoyote1245, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 11:24pm

    Re:

    The comment made by Anonymous Coward "It's funny that the only people that seem to have time to comment are those that work from home, don't ya' think that says something about who is more productive?" just show his/her stupidity. If this individual had read what was being talked about "Telecomputing" would of realized it does not pertain to those of us that work at the office all day. I have in the past done some telecomputing and while I was in that position my Internet bill was paid for by the company I worked for.

     

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  12.  
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    Yoda, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 3:58am

    Re: above

    Right. The home workers are already at work while the office workers are in traffic or on the train reading the newspaper.

    I spent 14 years in a major corporation and then the past 7 as a home worker for a small company. Home workers have much higher productivity, hands down. There is no commuting time, and very few 'mandatory' meetings consuming big chunks of time. And no annoying co-workers strolling into the office to shoot the breeze and not getting the hint that you have work to do.

    My employers have always paid the full cost of the broadband service, as well as a phone line and a cellphone. They do not, however, pay me for heating my home during the day, which I would not do if I were in an office. (I would program the thermostat for 55 instead of 68.)

    I do agree with the 'career killer' comment, also. It is hard to get mindshare when the uber bosses are talking about promotions/advancements if they only see you a few times a year, as in my case. And there are limits to what you can manage from a remote location. (I not only work at home, but from a geographically remote location from the main company offices.) It's a tradeoff you have to accept if you go down this path.

     

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  13.  
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    Kyle, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 8:55am

    Not reading again?

    For a blog that likes to go on and on about those who don't agree with them ignoring details and missing the point, Techdirt sure has a history of doing this themselves. This is an illustrative case. Nowhere is "itemizing porn consumption" listed that I can find. Instead, from the CNET article:
    As part of the program, the Patent Office would require employees to maintain high-speed Internet access meeting certain minimum technical requirements, to submit copies of invoices from their Internet service providers, and to attest to the percentage of ISP services used for work-related purposes. Employees would be eligible for only 50 percent or 100 percent reimbursement, depending on the amount of monthly business use of Internet services. The program would reimburse only for the basic rate of ISP connection services, and would not reimburse charges or costs associated with service initiation, activation, installation and so on. Employees also would be required to disclose whether the ISP provides bundled services, so that television, telephone and other services would not be reimbursed along with reimbursement for the Internet connection. The maximum allowable reimbursement for high-speed Internet access per employee per month would be $100.
    So where is the fire? There's not even any smoke there. Instead, per SOP, Techdirt gets page views through alarmist headlines and not reading the full article, instead cherry-picking the bits that agree with their worldview. This has been getting worse in recent weeks and months. I actually agree with (most of) that worldview, but the intellectual dishonesty, either from malice or lack of effort, is disheartening.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 10:23am

    I work from an office and my companies still reimburses my broadband because I have to check email or pull up some info once in awhile. If not, my answer when someone needs a report on an office server at 6pm is "sorry, I'm at home"...

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Thanks for that. The world needs more of you...get a life.

     

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  16.  
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    teknosapien, Jan 20th, 2007 @ 11:44am

    I've worked from home

    the one problem with it is that, when your home your at work and when your at work your at home. I prefer the option of splitting the work week in to some office and some home. I have to admit I liked the fact that I could roll over grab the laptop and relax while catching up on the corporate spam. to this day I haven't gotten reimbursed for my home connection, but I would have it anyway so whats the big deal ?

     

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  17.  
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    Gina, Jan 26th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    Finally, A Real Job At Home ! Excellent Income.

    Many excellent work-at-home opportunities are available. you can start your own business and enjoy the many benefits it provides.

    Register Online Now.

    Thank You.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Celeste, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 1:55am

    I disagree with the "Home workers have much higher productivity, hands down." statement! I've been working in an office for 11 years before telecommuting. Many employees who work in the office have been more productive as well. We're all adults! I'm produce the same productivity in the office & at home! I've seen my co-workers do the same!

     

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  19.  
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    Celeste, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 1:59am

    We're all matter!

    I disagree with the "Home workers have much higher productivity, hands down." statement! I've been working in an office for 11 years before telecommuting. Many employees who work in the office have been more productive as well. We're all adults! I'm produce the same productivity in the office & at home! I've seen my co-workers do the same! My company pays for all broadband use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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