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
    Cary, 5 Jun 2006 @ 2:33pm


    Not everyone is capable of being productive in a telecommuting environment. I was much more productive from home than in the office. Part of the loss in office time productivity was due to the "wish I was at home" syndrome, where you do less because you hate being in the office.

    Some people just can't commit their time to work productively when they are at home, though. That is where the corporations started thinking telecommuting isn't such a good idea. I think that it has to be evaluated on a person-by-person basis, not on a blanket policy. Not everyone likes walnuts in their brownies (like me).

    If I don't have to have an office, with the computer, network, phone, heating/cooling/lights, lunchroom, bathroom, parking,...., and I get just as much done as someone that does need an office, why should the company fork out that money for all the things that they need to provide in the office just to "have me in the office?"

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