On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
Tag Archives: Telecommuting
Brett G. Porter is Chief Engineer in Development Practices at Art & Logic, a 100% virtual company. With almost two decades’ worth of experience working remotely, Brett has substantial wisdom to share regarding virtual work arrangements that succeed. In “You Are Here: Thoughts on Working Remotely,” Brett’s article covers issues such as infrastructure requirements, keeping people connected, maintaining boundaries, structuring projects, as well as characteristics and circumstances that enable people to succeed at working remotely. Also, please visit “Office Free: Building the 21st Century Company” to vote for Art & Logic in SXSW Panelpicker Interactive 2016 and watch remote workers describe their experiences in a highly engaging video! (Successful introverted remote workers are represented by the way.)
Originally posted on Art & Logic:
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and discussion lately on the pros and cons of using distributed teams. It’s a topic I’ve given a lot of thought to — I just had my 17 year anniversary working for Art & Logic in a completely distributed environment, and over the years there have been many words written both in favor of it (see Scott Berkun’s recent book The Year Without Pants) and against (maybe most emphatically by Alistair Cockburn, who in his book Agile Software Development (2002) who says that ‘distributed development is becoming more commonplace, but it is not becoming more effective’). I’d certainly take exception to the assertion that it’s not possible to be successful and effective developing software in distributed teams, but that doing so requires that you adopt or reject certain situations, practices, and scenarios:
Previously, we explored cultural as well as psychological and sociological factors determining receptivity to telework implementation in various regions of the world. As you may have guessed, there are still more angles to explore. Here I’ll discuss some societal structures that impact telework adoption as outlined in Growing the Virtual Workplace: The Integrative Value Proposition for Telework by Alain Verbeke, Nathan Greidanus, and Laura Hambley with support from the recently published Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Read more of this post
For those curious about what Better Collaboration’s video-conference events are all about, I’ve provided a synopsis of the most recent ones below. Also, a brief introduction to material that will be covered at the next event follows.
May 22, 2013: Attendees were treated to a demonstration of Sococo by CEO and Co-Founder, Paul Brody. By providing a bird’s eye view of individual offices in a virtual office building, Sococo allows everyone to see where others are located. Each room has its own audio, video, and chat channel. This set-up is intended to provide the type of environmental structure and features that would facilitate and encourage the type of unscheduled business and social meetings found in traditional office environments. Read more of this post
“What can individual employees do aside from passively waiting to see whether or not there’ll ever be interest from those at the top?” is a big question that has been asked of me as a telework advocate. Christine Bhatkar’s post answers this question by outlining how to approach this diplomatically. Her post comes complete with a practical steps you can take to make the idea of establishing a remote work arrangement more palatable to key people in your organization. Read on!
Getting your boss and HR to agree to teleworking can feel like pulling teeth. No doubt, you already know the benefits of working remotely but it can be hard to put that in a proposal that is appealing to management. If you’re looking to make your case but you don’t know where to start, try these tips below.
1. Explain how telecommuting will benefit the company directly. If it means you don’t have to write an expense report then bring that up. If it means you can log on earlier each day then mention that. Most businesses want to know how it will affect the bottom line, so be sure to highlight any cost reducing benefits. Try putting together cost/benefit analysis.
2. Include recent studies that show the benefits of working remotely.HBR recently posted an article that talks about the benefits of telecommuting. Bring these studies with you to…
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One question telework advocates often entertain but can’t definitively answer is, “When will working anywhere and anytime gain more widespread acceptance?” Having researched this topic extensively, I’ve seen plenty of predictions that didn’t come to pass. Moreover, many are scratching their heads asking questions along the lines of, “Why hasn’t this happened already? We had the technological capability back in…” Yes, to a great extent, we are still working like it’s 1980. Furthermore, others muse that it will take a disaster of epic proportions (e.g., major natural disaster, pandemic, etc.) for the powers that be to change the way we work.
We know that new ideas and situations are scary to many, however I wanted to go beyond the scariness factor. Delving into factors that come into play with regard to coming up with a good, educated guess only opened up more issues to think about. Upon researching why it’s so difficult to predict if and when innovations gain acceptance, I came upon this wonderful explanation of factors which provided much fodder for thinking about the issue of resistance to telework. Excerpt: Read more of this post
What better way to illustrate how experience of a stimulus (held constant) is shaped by environmental factors than to examine how our experience of food changes according to the ambiance of the dining area? Check out the findings in Eating in a cafeteria makes food taste worse. Even when factoring out the possibility of particular odors in the environment impacting the taste of food, visual information remains an important factor as many of us know intuitively. Our interpretation of this visual information transforms our experience. Some examples from common knowledge: Read more of this post
I just love this wonderful depiction of realities associated with working from home that has been displayed by Marieke Guy. I’ve heard a lot about these same distractions and concur that such problems are very real. Regardless of distractions at home vs. at a centralized office however, what puts working at home over working at an office for me is greater freedom to exercise control over distractions at home whereas making environmental changes at an office necessitates an approval process (involving a greater number of other people’s needs and wants), the result of which might not go your way.
I’d also love for this graphical representation of work-at-home distractions to include distractions experienced by regular office workers for a visual, side-by-side comparison. I’d start that list off with frequently experienced distractions and time-wasters (cutting into time spent being productive for employee and employer alike I might add) from the beginning of the day due to the requirement to commute: (1) finding misplaced car keys, (2) getting out of car and running back to make sure front door is locked, (3) circling back around to make sure garage is closed, (4) circling back around to pick up a forgotten item you’re supposed to bring to work… I better stop here or it’ll be a long time before I get on with the rest of my life, haha! Plus, I’m sure the large numbers of office workers out there can mentally fill in the rest. 😛
Internetprovider.org have created a new infographic on
The Work From Home Disadvantage. It takes a global look at the challenges of remote working: distractions, noise, equipment problems, bad internet connection, bad posture and so on.
Some of the issues rang true for me. Since our move almost 2 years ago we have suffered from ‘temperamental broadband’ – it’s a little like a teenager and has its good days and bad days! I also have a couple of very demanding cats (open the door, close the door, and repeat) and I’m not convinced that my desk set up is that great, so do get a lot of back pain. But I still believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages!