Don't Fear Telecommuting Arrangements

John Storts

More and more employees work in a non-traditional setting outside the typical arrangement many of us are familiar with. Many companies now offer telecommuting and flex-time opportunities designed to bring balance to work- and home-life.


The economic realities of the here and now, though, have made workers in the U.S. reluctant to take advantage of these arrangements. According to a recent article on, workers are foregoing these programs in increasing numbers to appear more diligent and dedicated to their managers.


While admirable, the workers are short-changing themselves in terms of enjoying these benefits. Employers don't stand to gain much from this phenomenon, either, as metrics on the effectiveness of these programs are sure to be skewed by this lack of use engendered by fear. In turn, programs like these could be discontinued when they could be of great value to both parties. Then, the workers leave to find more "humane" working environments when they burn out. This clearly isn't an ideal situation.


With understanding and planning, there's little reason to fear from either perspective. Our IT Business Edge blogs, interviews and discussions can help IT managers and decision-makers negotiate these work/life twists and turns.


Check out these telecommuting-oriented resources on IT Business Edge:


Telecommuting IT Checklist-Michael Stevens provides this handy checklist to help IT managers "cover all the bases" for telecommuting arrangements.


Telecommuting Calculator-Michael Stevens includes this calculator for determining your approximate cost savings opportunity with telecommuting.


Telecommuting Tips for the SMB-Paul Mah offers a few common-sense strategies for making it work in the SMB world. Item number one: Move your workforce toward laptops to allow for mobility and reduce tech support costs.


A Crotchety Manager's View on Telecommuting-Ken-Hardin puts in his $.02 on telecommuting from a management standpoint. Far from crotchety, he offers a common-sense guideline based on his successful experience with telecommuting: "Assuming they have the same responsibilities, a telecommuting employee's schedule should be no more flexible than an in-office employee's schedule. [T]here has to be a predictable schedule, and employees have to stick with it predictably."


Telecommuting Check List-Ann All shares human resource provider Gevity's checklist; use it to determine if a telecommuting program can be successfully implemented for your business.


Should Telecommuters Be Available All the Time?-Read this brief discussion between IT Business Edge contributors and IT managers regarding viewpoints on telecommuter availability.


If your company offers a flex-time or telecommuting program or not, and whether your workers are in the traditional office or not, the bottom line is performance or "impact." As industrial psychologist Karissa Thacker puts it in the CNN article:


"It is not you that your boss needs to see; it's your impact." [A worker's value is based on her] "visible, observable impact on a daily basis, digitally or in person."

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 2, 2010 8:58 AM Michele: The Telecommuting Mom Michele: The Telecommuting Mom  says:

All good points.  I especially like Ken Hardin's comment  "telecommuting employee's schedule should be no more flexible than an in-office employee's schedule." If there is business to be done then it must be done. Telecommuting isn't an excuse to goof off. But it can ease the burden of commuting and it is good mental therapy to change up the work environment now and then.

Apr 5, 2010 10:04 AM John Storts John Storts  says: in response to Michele: The Telecommuting Mom

Thanks for your response, Michele; I agree. Ken makes a good point. I've seen situations where telecommers did get more flexibility overall, and it created a good deal of tension with the office-based workers, since many of them simply couldn't take advantage of telecommuter/flex-time programs. So, yes, the arrangements need to be as fair as possible to all involved, and the bottom line is your impact at work, no matter where you get it done.

I like your blog, too!

Jan 26, 2011 1:21 AM customer service at home jobs customer service at home jobs  says:

That's a great quote... "It is not YOU that your boss needs to see; it's your impact." Meaning a workers value is based on his or her observable impact on a daily basis, digitally or in person. IBM computer states, "We don't care where you get your work done - we care THAT you get your work done." It's been great to see so many employers in so many industries warm up to the idea of implementing  a telework option. Done right, it improves lives. 


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