Can't Trust This Telecommuter

from the there-goes-that-plan dept

For all the talk about how we're soon going to be a nation of telecommuters, thanks to new technologies, Broadband Reports points out a study that shows one very big hurdle: most employers still don't trust their employees to work unsupervised. The study was done in Australia, so there's a chance the results wouldn't apply elsewhere, but it does seem like something that is likely to be a major hindering factor for many potential telecommuting opportunities. Of course, it's not just the bosses that don't trust telecommuters: 75% of employees think their telecommuting co-workers are simply goofing off and "are not working at all." At some point, however, someone is going to do a little cost-benefit analysis and realize that office space is a pretty big cost, and trusting your workers to actually do what you've asked them to do could actually pay off. Of course, on the flip side, expect to see many new technologies, applications and services to help solve this problem by somehow "monitoring" the work of telecommuting employees -- which is likely to make most workers only feel even less trusted.
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  1. identicon
    acousticiris, 14 Sep 2004 @ 10:05am

    Trust issues?

    As a salary employee (exempt), I am paid to "do" not to "be." I don't punch in, I have flex time, and I am allowed to telecommute when I find it necessary.
    When I work at the office, I'm in a small room in the corner of a test switch which is in the corner of a real switch. Nobody can see when I come and go. My boss is in a different time-zone, and his boss is in a different country. So keeping a close eye on me is almost impossible anyway.

    I have too much to do to goof off regularly...And when I do telecommute, it's generally at very odd hours (working a shift from 1:00P to 3:00A to complete a production update).
    Once supervisors/bosses start to judge their staff on the actual contribution they make to the company, they won't care a bit about staff telecommuting. If you're getting the job done on time and the way it's supposed to be done...who cares where it's done from (and in some cases...between which hours it is worked on!)? And dare I say, who cares how many hours that employee puts in, as well? In the true philosophy of "exempt" employment, you're not paid by the hour of labour. This is an excuse to not pay overtime, but the door sometimes could swing both ways.

    I have too much on my plate to put in 40 hours. I regularly work well over that, and I'm paid accordingly. The only proof that I exist is the work I produce. That's how I'm judged. If I was not producing, I'd be let go (believe me!).

    Sometimes my working from home allows me to get to and from a dental appointment on my lunch the work scenario, I would have probably taken half the day off for such an appointment since work is 32 miles from my home.

    ...and yes... sometimes while things are compiling, I reply to blog entries :-) But we all do that at the office too!

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