Tele Commuting

In the future, information workers will work from home, where it is handy to keep an eye on the kids, work early in the morning or very late at night, or on weekends, and communicate by email or video messages. They can do twice the amount of work at half the price, and prefer to have it that way. Quote from: http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-2001-02/lw-02-futurecomputing.html (That link is 404. Try http://www.itworld.com/Tech/2399/LW-02-futurecomputing/ )

Riiight. I think this underestimates the extent to which people like to work face to face. I've worked from home - for a while, it was great. After that, I just missed the office social environment too much.

PairProgrammingAtHome might be an answer to this.


In my last job I telecommuted just one day a week. I saw that day as my "hacking" day, when I had hours of quiet where I could think clearly and code well. (Of course, some days are better than others; on an "off" day I was no less productive at home than at work, but definitely more comfortable...)

I still called into meetings, which had mixed results -- there is a definite tendency towards being like a blind, invisible participant (blind because you can't see people's body language, or any visual aids; invisible because they tend to forget you are "there"). Fortunately I didn't need a whole lot of interaction, and could usually schedule more important meetings for days when I was in the office; or just come in (at my company teleworking was considered a privilege, not a right, and supporting the business had priority, so if you needed to come in, you came in.)

Note that I also worked a four day workweek, and so was able to stay home one day a week with my kid. I did not try to do any work when I was home with my child, and I did not keep my child home on my telework day. Maybe some people can pull it off, but I definitely couldn't. (And I had some less than positive experiences trying to work with people who were also trying to take care of kids in the background.)

Why not use videoconferencing over the web-then they could see you were working at your desk johnLynch www.virtualbusinessmeetings.com


With no intention of debating the WTCAttacks here, I do wonder if their aftermath will include dramatically increased telecommuting as a merely expedient measure for companies without office space until NYC rebuilding proceeds; and if so, if this would be enough to make telecommuting move into the general mainstream of American business.

My office was 3-4 blocks away from the WTC and most of us did this the great majority of the time for a couple of months. Management in CA made it known that this wasn't acceptable. Since then every company I've interviewed with has been very hostile to telecommuting, "How will we know you are working?" In fact I would say I've learned not to ask about it. So I don't think at least in NYC its a trend for programmers, but of course that is purely anecdotal.---PeterDoak

There have also been a lot of talk about the need for decentralization, since our centralized industry presents such obvious and vulnerable targets for terrorism. Drastically increased telecommuting could be the first step towards a more decentralized and safer way of working.
moved here from DistributedSoftwareDevelopment

The TeleCommuting article claims that this kind of company will outcompete traditional companies in the near future.

Hmm, many companies have been doing this for over twenty years, especially MicroSoft. I don't see how they have anything special or how they will outcompete. Who are their competitors? It seems to have worked!

Basicly by having close-to-zero overhead (they don't have to invest in office buildings, furniture, computers, people to clean the offices, electricity, heating, water, guards ...) and the developers have much more time by avoiding the daily commute (for most people this adds up to ridiculous amounts of time over a year).


See also: ProgrammingInsideTheHome, PairProgrammingAtHome, DistributedSoftwareDevelopment

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