Could you telecommute?

I was listening to talk radio on the way home, and the host was talking about how IBM saves $100 million on real estate because 40% of their workforce works from home. (No cite, so I have no idea how accurate that is.)

Now, I must say, that appeals to me, but I don’t think it would work in my particular job. We produce a daily product for another department, sometimes handwritten changes must be made. Documents must be printed and filed. Deliveries come in that must be processed. Although I could do a lot of my work from home, I don’t think I could do all of it.

How about you? Could you work from home? If you do telecommute, do you find the experience fulfilling? Would you go back to the office if you had the choice, or are you quite happy working on the home computer in your jammies with a kitty in your lap?

I telecommute, and I love it. I’m a bajillion times more efficient, too. Nobody disturbs me unless I want them to.

I’m in the office a few days a month, which is necessary, but given the choice I would not. I am ruined - I don’t think I could ever go back to a normal job again.

It requires a certain discipline - there are people I work with that I don’t think could do it. You have to force yourself to leave the house, take breaks, etc. Of course you also have to be given enough trust that you won’t sit around all day surfing messageboards…::cough::

And as it happens, there is a kitty in my lap right now.

If they gave me the same microphone I use at work, FTP access plus remote access to the automation system, and the services of the company courier, I could do everything at home that I do at work except be there to catch/fix/prevent on-air accidents. I don’t think they’d be willing to hire somebody to just be there in person in case something went wonky.

I telecommute once a week. I’m one of the more experienced engineers where I work, so I tend to get pestered quite a bit by other people wanting to know how to do something or how something works. Working at home one day a week saves me a bit on gasoline and gives me one day where I can work mostly undisturbed.

On days I work from home, I get up, read the dope while I drink my morning caffeine, then I start working while still in my sweats. Around lunch time I’ll finally take a shower, and put some clean sweats on, then I’ll work the rest of the afternoon. We have two cats, and I don’t particularly like either one of them. Cats being what they are, somehow sense that I like them the least out of anyone else in the house, and this makes them want affection from me much more than anyone else (what is it, the challenge factor or something? I don’t get it). I can tolerate a cat sleeping next to me on the desk, but if they insist on climbing on my keyboard or otherwise getting in my way it’s back down to the floor they go, and if they get really obnoxious I kick them out of the room and shut the door.

I have what Mrs Geek calls my “cave” in the basement. It’s a room where I have all of my computers. It keeps me away from the kids and TV and whatnot. I’ve found that I can’t take my laptop upstairs into the living room and work. The TV gets to be too distracting. As long as I stay in my cave I’m happy and productive. I enjoy what I do, which helps.

I have a laptop with VPN access that allows me almost 100% of the functionality of being at the office. I telecommute sometimes. Unfortunately it is usually for overtime stuff. I have coworkers that work from all over the world in remote offices and from home. I could certainly do it and I have my own home office but my daughters and wife are remarkably oblivious to requests not to be disturbed if they happen to be around.

I’ve been telecommuting on and off for the past several years, and I had another stint at it maybe ten years prior to that.

As a programmer, it makes a lot of sense to work from home. I do my most productive work when I have long stretches of time without interruptions. I more or less get in the the groove and push out a lot of stuff when I’m not dealing with interruptions.

I really don’t want it any other way. Up until maybe six months ago, I had a job where I was in the office maybe 50% of the time, and there’s no comparison to the amount of work that gets done. People (managers) always seem to think that people at home have trouble with discipline, that they can’t get things done. In my experience, it’s the same or worse in an office. People sit around and talk, they have meetings where nothing really gets done, they screw around in a hundred different ways.

I’m not interested in pretending to work. I don’t want to socialize with the guy in the next office during the day. If I’m working, I want to be left alone to do work. This seems nigh on impossible in most of the offices I’ve worked in.

Oh, and of course all the benefits aren’t work-related. Yeah, I like not having to wear the gimp suit. I like having my dog on my lap during the day. I like having the flexibility to work my own hours. Since Mr. Athena works at home as well, we both like being around each other a lot.

I’ve telecommuted for about 25 years and love it love it love it! I can work in my jammies, do laundry, and I’m much more efficient than when I worked in an office. The down side…you never get to “go home from work”. Work is always here infiltrating my personal time. It’s not just a matter of discipline, either. If I’m behind at work, it’s right there…staring at me, even if I don’t go in the office to do it.

I’ve been telecommuting ever since the birth of my first child, five years ago. It’s great for me because it allows me to stay at home with my kids and yet still bring in income, which is nice.

I have to admit that I do miss the separation of work and home that you get when you actually go to the office. It can sometimes be hard to settle in and get a project done when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry, a sink full of dishes, and preschoolers jumping off the couch. But mostly it’s pretty cool. I like working from the comfort of my armchair in my living room.

I work with a group of software engineers, and almost all of us telecommutes at least occasionally. Some do it as often is three days a week, others only once in a while.


I’m a technical writer/editor, and my job can absolutely be done from home – or from Starbucks, or from anywhere with an internet connection, really. :slight_smile: At my old job I would occasionally telecommute when the weather was bad or when I was sick enough to not want to get dressed, but not too sick to do some work. Also, if I ever start doing part-time freelance work I intend for that to be all “telecommuting.”

That said, I could never telecommute all of the time. I need people around me, I like hearing chatter and office noise, and I don’t mind the social parts of working in an office at all. Sure, there are always people you have to deal with who you don’t particularly like/respect, but they’re part and parcel of the environment. Heck, I don’t even like it when the office is too quiet.

Like now: it’s nearly 1am, and I’m still at work because there’s a huge proposal going out tomorrow, but there’s no one else on my side of the office (the other editor went home a few hours ago). I tried moving to the conference room where a few other folks are working, but I couldn’t get all of the applications I needed configured on any of the computers in there. So here I sit at my desk, all alone, listening to internet radio and posting to the SDMB while waiting for the next section to edit and/or for someone to come ask me about something. Meh. :slight_smile:

I was given the option of telecommuting one day a week but contrary to what everyone else seems to be saying -I was less productive at home during the day. I found I couldn’t focus on my work. I started channel/internet surfing, flopping on the couch, watching the grass grow… anything but work. After a few weeks, I just went back to a regular week in the office.

There are a couple of people in the office who come in once a week. I could telecommute, and it would save me about $30/day, five hours of driving and let me sleep two more hours. Only I’m using a non-dual processor Mac, and I need to do things on a PC. So I’d have to buy a new PC laptop, have Office (including Access – thanks Brian!) installed, and the Easytrieve software. I’ll also need access to the Network, the AS400, and VPN to my former employer’s computer. My boss has hinted I might be able to telecommute.

As far as temperament, sure. I enjoy my work and can easily get into a groove.

I could do everything my job needs by telecommuting. Our remote-access VPN is pretty slick - you tunnel in with it, and it plops you onto the internal network before your laptop boots Windows. Ctrl-Alt-Del, and log into the network as normal, and you’ve got email, network shares, mainframe, the whole works.

The silly part is why not. Some time ago, a high mucky-muck was incensed that some people had the unmitigated gall to be telecommuting on the day he wanted to see them in person for whatever triviality. As a result, telecommuting’s been a sore subject ever since. I work semi-remotely as it is - my manager is several states away. I see her in person about once every two years, or about twice a year in videoconferences.

If somebody would hire me. :wink:

I used to work for a company that was on the “forefront” of this new business model.

Turns out, the only people that “qualified” were single mothers, with “Senior” status, that owned thier own homes. Except for the ones that rented, that were related to “management”. Or real good “smoking buddies” of management. Or that had too many “family leave unexcused absences” that kept them from showing up to work!

I applied for it. Single, “Senior” ranking, dude, no kids, owned my home, perfect attendence record. No F-ing way! I was first to go when the layoffs came also, despite my seniority.

Fuck them.

Even the OP could conceivably telecommute. Documents with handwritten signatures can be scanned and emailed, and then rescanned after signing.

My job only lets me telecommute for overtime.

If work goes through with the purchases we’re hoping for I will telecommute from my car - shoot, write, track & edit stories on laptop and feed wifi or Verizon from wherever. Which I would like 'cause I live 45 miles from the station. But it would not let me just stay at home.

Unfortunately, I work for the gummint in a job that largely requires access to classified material. So unless they converted a room in my house to meet the security requirements and got me classified net access, it just ain’t gonna happen.

But that’s fine. Much as I hate the commute, I love knowing that when I leave the office, I’ve left it behind. After I retire (in just under 2.5 years) I think part-time work from home would be a nice option. And since I get all these emails about “Work from Home and Make a Jillion Dollars a Day” maybe the opportunity awaits me. :smiley:

I don’t think I could throw a needle that far and still hit a vein. :stuck_out_tongue:

I work in the upper level of the service economy, and my job is very hands-on.

On the days when I answer the phone, I guess I could telecommute if I had a) the computer system the lab uses; b) the computer system the hospital uses; and c) good phone access to individual phlebotomists. Pretty hard.

I’m an elementary school teacher, so…probably not.

More than 50% of my job consists of actually running assays in a laboratory. On any given day something could come up that requires me to spend time in the lab. So, no, it would be pretty hard for me to telecommute. (Various safety requirements preclude me from running these assays in my kitchen, unfortunately).

My supervisor telecommutes one or two days a month on average. Her job is 99% outside the lab. We could probably work something out temporarily if we had to, like if I had a broken leg or something, where I only did paperwork and no lab work but anything long term would require a radical change in my job description.

On the plus side the company I have worked for for the last 18 years just moved their facilities 10 miles closer to my house, so my commute is much easier than it used to be.

I think it would be very difficult for me to telecommute anyway the way things are at home right now. I don’t have an office here, my wife doesn’t work and my son has been out of school for the summer so I can’t really picture getting much done.