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Wired on telecommuting

10/18/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/16-10/st_essay

Wired has an interesting article on the advantages of telecommuting rather than centralized offices.

I partially agree: there are many excellent reasons to work from home. However, the article has clearly been written for a US audience and there are certain assumptions built into the article like 2500 square foot houses and $1200 commuting bills which simply aren't true up here in Calgary; well, not unless you work in a senior role for an oil company. On top of that, personal experience has been that I'm still more productive in the office than at home due to much easier access to those I work with: think outsourcing to India but just make the roundtrip a bit shorter. Beyond issues like that, you run into problems with non-centralized network infrastructure (e.g. reliance on residential internet connection and personal computers, servers still need a co-location facility with the additional difficulty of access and maintenance), a number of costs are pushed onto the worker (extra electricity consumption due higher heating during the day and usage of work machines, telephone bills that need to be reclaimed from the employer),and the somewhat significant fact that this concept still only works for white collar employees.

I do like working at home, but I prefer working at the office where I can leave my work concerns quite separate from my life when I go home in the evening. That lack of separation is something that's rarely raised in pro-telecommuting articles and it does significantly add stress levels to one's home life if it becomes the norm, rather than the periodic.

 

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