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
    sorry guys, 13 Sep 2004 @ 10:19pm

    not going to happen for a long long time

    Telecommuting is simply not going to happen on a large scale. Managers simply won't go for it because a) they don't trust employees and b) it weakens their own position.
    They'd rather outsource somewhere halfway around the planet, than trust an employee to work at home 5 minutes away.
    If you think that this is going to change anytime soon, you're sadly mistaken. Why would a manager put themselves in a position where it makes them look increasingly redundant? They won't! Managers want to build empires, not save money for the company.
    The idea you can keep tabs on employees by some technical means is pointless, because it would end up with an 'arms race' of monitoring and spoofing tools that goes nowhere. Just the suggestion that an employee could rig a monitor is enough to derail the entire idea altogether.
    You guys keep looking at this from a technical perspective, but it's really all about people and power. Logically we could all be living happy lives in a land of candy and fairy floss, but we aren't because people are... people. Logic and expenses be damned.

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