Let's talk about the black sheep of the white collar world – shhh – don't say it too loud, HR might be listening in – but go ahead and say it… "telecommuting". Go ahead, try it again – "telecommuting".
Felt good, didn't it? And as this article in the Christian Science Monitor suggests, perhaps attitudes are finally changing for the better when it comes to this perceived luxury.
In most industries – at least here in the U.S. - telecommuting is an unheard of dream, much like part-time work, full-time pay or five weeks paid holiday. However, in many technology jobs – or really any job whose industry takes part in outsourcing – there's no real reason to cold-shoulder this practice other than "because I said so."
Since many managers and HR staff still don't seem to understand how or why an employee should work from home, perhaps they might benefit from a few pointers.
First and foremost, telecommuting should be seen as a win-win situation for all involved. Often, due to salary restraints, many employees live far from the office because they simply can't afford to live any closer. As a result, there's a financial burden of commuting, not to mention the physical and mental toll it takes.
All of this could be alleviated by allowing one or two days a week from home – which translates to a more relaxed employee with longer working hours since they aren't losing up to three hours a day stuck in traffic jams.
Even though face time is important, as the article points out, the realities of instant messaging services and virtual meeting applications like WebEx mean that we're never really out of mind – even if out of sight.
However, in order for this to work, it's entirely up to the employee to maintain excellent communication between "the office" and "home" and to always stay one step ahead of the game in terms of productivity.
Initiative becomes even more valuable to keeping a good deal. While it's not something that will work for everyone, there are definite advantages to working from home that employees can pitch to their management – so long as they are willing to hold up their end of the bargain and work a little harder to make the arrangement work.