Let Your Employees Go! (To Their Home Offices) - InformationWeek

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9/21/2007
11:43 AM
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Let Your Employees Go! (To Their Home Offices)

According to a USA Today article, increasingly long commutes and heavier traffic on the roads are compelling more and more workers to start their days earlier and earlier. What is wrong with this picture?

According to a USA Today article, increasingly long commutes and heavier traffic on the roads are compelling more and more workers to start their days earlier and earlier. What is wrong with this picture?One guy quoted in the article, 60-year old Harold Shaw, rolls out of bed at 4:30 AM every day. "If I leave home after 6 and there's an accident," he says, "I'm late for work."

Another woman, Martha Perry, has 13 hour works days to avoid traffic going to and from work.

I don't know what either Shaw or Perry do for a living but if they work in IT there's one thing they should be doing  and their IT manager should be telling them to do if they are valued employees  at least sometimes: stay home.

But it seems, if they are like many IT managers in the private sector, they're not. I just received a study from CDW Corp. indicating that only 15 percent of private sector employees surveyed have the option to telecommute. This is, embarrassingly enough, in contrast to federal employees where 44 percent of those surveyed said they have the option to telecommute.

It's hard for me to understand why more IT workers aren't working from home at least some of the time. Between laptops, email, IM, private networks, it's so doable and so clearly benefits everyone involved, starting with employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and will stick around way longer than they otherwise would. How long can Perry and Shaw maintain those schedules? One year? Two? They'll burn out way before they should.

Do IT managers not trust their employees to get the jobs done? Aren't their ways to measure that beyond having someone constantly underfoot? It's time to loosen the reigns, take advantage of the opportunities tech tools are giving us, and provide IT workers with the work environments that suit them best.

Are you telecommuting? Is there a telecommuting policy in your department? Tell us how it's working (or not). We want to know.

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