Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Thin Bright Line

Telecommuting can be tricky to fit into a sustainable business program because a lot of factors come into play - social, cultural, business objectives, cost savings. It seems like you don't hear a lot about it anymore, even though there are about 12.4 million full time employees doing it in the US alone. Since it appears to have reached some sort of plateau, I did some investigation as to why this green technology may be hampered.

One of the reasons appears to be the shortage of 10Mbps connections to homes, particularly in countries that are not fully wired out yet, such as Ireland. Ironically, the build out of the infrastructure may not solve the problem, as Israel found out when many skilled employees started telecommuting to the US where the pay was much higher. Build it and they will leave, it seems.

Then there are the usual requirements of face time that some jobs require, either by the job or the manager. These regs seem fairly rooted in the culture/mission of the organization. And to round it out, some telecommuters are now suing their employers, claiming they are being denied overtime and severance pay. How far can we push the telecommuting envelope?

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