Telecommuting Pendulum Swinging Back In The Other Direction?

from the management-fads dept

One of the more amusing things to watch in the business world is how management fads swing back and forth like a pendulum. It appears that just as telecommuting was becoming a lot more popular, leading to buzzwords like homeshoring, some are already moving in the other direction. HP, who was one of the first big companies to promote more flexible work rules is apparently cutting back on telecommuting for their IT staff, claiming that too many people were abusing it and workers are more productive when together. This is pretty much the complete opposite of competitor Sun, which has tried to get as many people as possible to telecommute (apparently 83% of their IT staff now are telecommuters). Both approaches seem a bit extreme. Telecommuting, by itself, is neither good nor bad. It certainly can be abused -- but allowing people to work from home can have tremendous advantages as well. Rather than declaring it completely a good thing or bad thing, it would seem to make sense to have a more balanced approach that looks at the different situations of different employees to see when it makes sense and when it doesn't. Of course, a balanced approach doesn't sell well when it comes to promoting the latest management fad.

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  1. identicon
    Constance Reader, 6 Jun 2006 @ 1:01pm

    Telecommuting

    I am forced to site in a cubicle 40 hours every week, and rarely have more than 20 hours worth of work to do. I work for a contract organization in a feast or famine industry, so asking for more work is often futile: even if other teams need the help they don't have the hours in their budget to bill your time to the client, and naturally your assigned team doesn't want you charging hours to the budget spent working on another team.

    I wish I could telecommute; those hours devoid of actual work could be spent on many other productive activities. But unfortunately my position is too low on the totem pole to be paperless.

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