Telecommuting Slowdown

While I have been espousing telecommuting and moreover discussing frequently how IP communications enables companies to hire remote workers without losing productivity… Even I have been a bit surprised that some companies have such a large number of at home workers.

This man just received an e-mail requesting he start coming to the office

For example call center agents do not necessarily need to collaborate in a face-to-face fashion with their peers and one imagines there is no productivity lost when these workers work from home.

But other workers do benefit greatly from human interaction unencumbered by internet protocol.

So I guess my surprise comes in response to the types of positions that have been assigned to work-at-home personnel.

It seems that some of the companies who were the leading champions of telecommuting are pulling some of their workers back.

I wonder if these organizations think they may have overdone it it when it comes to telecommuting and are now pulling people back in an effort to find the right balance between the two forms of work.

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  • Ranjit Nayak
    February 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    As a small startup in Austin, our company was forced to telecommute since we could not afford office spaces. As the team grew to 5 members it was very evident we needed to collaborate and remain on the same page.
    We moved into the offices of the Austin Technology Incubator in September of 2007 and the result is that we are a much more productive team.
    I am rather intrigued by how companies can outsource the development of technology to far flung corners of the world and be as productive.
    Ranjit Nayak

  • Rich Tehrani
    February 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Agreed. In some cases this work tends to come back into the states. I think that some companies are better at managing remote workers than others.
    I also suppose the interview process in some larger organizations weeds out the people who will not be productive team members from their homes.
    Your story is a great one… Thanks for sharing.

  • PhoneBoy
    February 29, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Telecommuting is not for sissies. I have been doing it full time for 10+ years.
    Part of successful telecommuting is facetime. WHen you spend most of your time interacting over email, IM, or phone, you REALLY need that facetime in order to build relationships with your co-workers so you can be effective at home.
    Facetime is just not something you’re going to get with someone in an outsourcing arrangement, unless you’re willing to spend the money and time to fly out there on a regular basis.

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