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
    K, 14 Sep 2004 @ 2:17am

    IT is more than just Help Desk

    Yes, a typical blame-management attitude. Thing is, we do not expect doctors, electricians, or auto mechanics to stay at home and tell customers to fix their own problems
    Radiologists, Electrical Engineers, automotive designers, people in all of these careers telecommute.

    What says IT is synonymous with help desk? DBAs, programmers, sysadmins, security, QA, all of these are skilled positions that do not require the practitioner to show up in a cube farm at 8AM each morning.

    . For some strange reason, IT people think that the rules of ordinary human conduct do not apply to them.
    Only a tiny subset of IT staff actually have a position that requires daily hands-on mucking about with the hardware.

    I build Sun Solaris servers -- we have four people on site at each of DC/NYC/LA who do the basic "fit all the right parts in the box, slide it onto the rails, plug in a few cables" part of getting a system ready for the OS. I do my job remotely, never even see the hardware for 80% of the servers I deploy and maintain.

    So in our Corporate IT department of 100 people, we have a dozen technicians who need to be on site to physically install servers and swap tapes and do the general "technical operations" duties, another half dozen in "executive support / desktop support" to do the hands-on "fixing of people's computer problems, plus two guys to make sure that the remote access servers are up and accessible 24x7.

    That leaves 80 employees (80% of the staff) free to work from home, if only management would see the light.

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