Friday, April 8, 2011

One Big Reason Not To Telecommute

Personally, I don't telecommute, but I know a bunch of people who do.  They are always bragging about how they can take conference calls in their pajamas, file status reports while sitting outside on their deck, and design websites from the local Starbucks (free Wifi baby!!!!!!!).  My "day job" employer has not embraced telecommuting all that readily, much to the chagrin of most of the rank and file.  I used to be one of those people who brooded at the fact that my employer did not have a telecommuting policy.  However, the more that I thought about it, the more I thought that it was actually a good thing not to telecommute.  Here is my thought process...

One of the biggest criteria for deciding if a job is suitable for telecommuting is whether or not the job is not dependent upon being at a particular physical location.  Obviously a janitor is not a good candidate for telecommuting because he or she needs to be on-site to perform their duties (i.e. cleaning).  On the other hand, a computer programmer is an ideal candidate because programming does not depend upon being in a particular physical location.

Another trend in business is for companies to outsource jobs to far off lands - India being one of the big destinations for outsourced jobs.  Consider what makes a job suitable for outsourcing.  Probably the biggest criteria for deciding if a job is suitable for outsourcing is whether or not the job is depedent upon being at a particular physical location.  Astute readers will note that this is precisely the same criteria that makes a job suitable for telecommuting!!!

The question then is why would you want to advertise to the powers that be that your job does not depend upon you being in the office?  It seems to be that having a telecommuting position is like sticking a big sticker on your back that says "outsource me".

Of course, there are many other criteria whether a job is outsource-able, not just a lack of dependence on physical location.  However, it certainly is one of the main ones.  Why attract unwanted attention on yourself by working offsite?  After all, if somebody can do your job in their pajamas while sitting on the deck, that means that it is possible that somebody can your job sitting in an office park in Bangalore.

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