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telecommuting problems

Here is an interesting discussion about the problems that occur when telecommuting:

I am telecommuting 100% of my working time, and I can tell you that those problems are true. :-(

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I completely agree ...  it does get difficult to be in the same place day in and day out, and even leaving for a while to go to the gym or whatever doesn't make up for the lack of social interaction you normally have throughout the day in an office. Not to mention the complete absence of gossip and b*tching about your co-workers ;)

I was thinking about getting some space in the Guinness Development Centre -- and I'm sure there are similar 'incubator' type spaces in other cities for entrepeneurs/small business people where at least there are somewhat-similar-minded people around you.  If you get bored you can walk over and see what someone else is working on :)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

My friend told me about a bunch of guys she met who live in a Warehouse. They have their own rooms and a large common area with lots of computers. Many of them do consulting work, and some of them are permenant employees at various companies... This seems to solve the social interaction problem.

Though if I were commuting, at least I'd know I was gauranteed to see sunlight twice a day. Well, during the summer.

No way you could find a public WiFi and work from a local cafe or park? Or better yet, move near the cafe, and set up your own encrypted wireless network if the data is too sensitive.

I'd bet you'd find fewer distractions in the cafe too... no TV, no Stereo, can't play the MP3's too loud either, though I guess you could wear earplugs.

Speaking of social interaction, Happy Thanksgiving to all you fellow Americans.
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Same scenario ... quit my job and started consulting.  I have been doing it for about 2.5 years now.  I lasted exactly 6 weeks working out of my home.  I found office space in a building with 4 other tenants.  It had a common waiting room, conference room and kitchen.  It was a great arrangement for $350/month.  I have since expanded the business and had to leave that space.

Cabin Fever Be Gone!
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Same situation here basicly. Only, I have probably deterioated a bit futher than most :D

My sleep cycle is in freerun mode. Which creates more separation to the outside world.

Im kind of an introvert so I found that working with people around me all day was very draining. Being alone all day is better, but it would be nice have some kind of balance.

So, right now Im thinking about hobbies or voluteer work. Something to get me out of the house and distract me. Something that has nothing what so ever to do with computers.
To join some club or something.

Eric DeBois
Thursday, November 27, 2003

This is why many advocate that it's best to find a balance, such as 2 days in the office / 3 days telecommuting. I would imagine that would depend on whether you're a creature of habit, or one that thrives on change.

Having telecommuted for a year while a "permanent employee" at a former workplace, a prime irritant was the constant "ooh, must be nice!". While there were aspects I appreciated about it (such as no lost life commuting -- though on the flip side I now commute almost an hour each day and I find it to be incredibly enjoyable time, though I do it as a bunny crushing pollution belching driver -- When I took the rapid light rail, crunched in with a tonne of other people, it wasn't remotely as enjoyable and truly was wasted time), in the end you're doing the same work with the same deadlines. Indeed, one could say that you have significantly more critical deadlines, as when you're physically present you can huff and puff and lay subtle innuendo that the world is to blame for all of your problems, while telecommuting it's all about the results.

In the end, though, complaining about telecommuting is like complaining about having lots of money - it's offensive to people who don't have the choice. With money you have the option to give it all away to charity if you find it a burden. With telecommuting you have the option of starting your day with a trip to the coffee shop and other social places, etc.

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Ooops, make that an hour commuting -each-way-. I drive through the beautiful Northern Halton (Ontario) Niagara Escarpment area, circling around the urbanity of Toronto, and it's always a pleasure. If I were doing an hour of highly urban driving, with the number of pricks I see (already numerous) multiplied, I'd probably have a different story.

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Oh, and there is one comment on Slashdot that absolutely sums up one of the biggest pitfalls of telecommuting:

"Working at home you basically get to avoid most office politics ... the downside - you tend to lose most office politics"

Instantly you `stand apart' and on destructive or useless teams you'll be used as the supposed reason for all of the team's ills. Only strong workplaces with good management, and with healthy competent employees can facilitate telecommuting -- anywhere else will be a disaster.

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Dennis - good points there. Just as a comparison, when I lived in Kanata and had to drive into Ottawa every day it was about 25-30  minutes and I'd complain about that :) Mind you, driving home on a night when there was a Senators game meant you either left work early or stayed in town until after 7pm.

Either way, I'm in dublin now .. no wi-fi spots (i'm still waiting for broadband as it is) and my company registration has just come through so I'm going to start looking for small office space.

"In the end, though, complaining about telecommuting is like complaining about having lots of money .."

-- I'd have to kinda disagree with that; I think it's more "Grass is greener..." really. From my experience, I think it's quite easy to complain either way :)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Whenever the topic of work space comes up I take the opportunity to advocate private offices arranged near each other so that  developers have space to work alone and have the facilities for working together as needed.  The motivation is to have facilities that are both productive and pleasant to work in.

The /. post was only concerned about a lack of human interaction when working from home full time.  I was unemployed for four months and thus working from home doing a job search and various apartment improvement projects that had been put off.  But I barely noticed any reduction in human interaction.

I am quite introverted, so there is some limit to how much human interaction I can tolerate, but the main factor in this is that most of my human interaction comes from activities outside of the office.  I am involved in some community service activities and some special interest clubs and this activity didn't change when I got laid off.

Although I prefer the private office arrangement, I think telecommuting would be preferable to working in shared office space.  In the shared office space you have to put up with office mates who chew gum with their mouth open and other distracting behaviour when you are trying to get work done.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Guys, I never thought of this. I mean my goal is to quit my job and write shareware from home.

I would love to work from home, but I never thought about the lack of social intervention.

I do have problems with a decent workspace, my office heats up to boiling point in the afternoon, I don't want to go to a coffee shop, as cool as it sounds, I would feel obliged to keep buying drinks, and lets face it, even four drinks comes to $10, at least home is free.
I end up in the library were I have to unplug and carry my laptop with me any time I want to go to the toilet.

Gosh an incubator type space like the Guinness Development Centre that jedidjab79 described would be ideal.

I could get away with church and sport for my social interaction....If I get too bored I can always have babies...that would be fun!!!

Aussie Chick
Thursday, November 27, 2003

>> "If I get too bored I can always have babies...that would be fun!!"

No fair :-( LOL.

Some guy
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Shared office space might work for some but there's another angle to watch out for. Usually it will contain three types of people:

1. those who work on their own but think it will be exciting to work amonst others. That is, doubly boring people. It won't be like working in a big organisation at all.

2. people who think running a business is a matter of having a front. These people wear meticulous ties every day and pretend they're really big companies, when it's just one guy or gal. These are typically accountants and the like.

3. mates of the landlord, or possibly the prime tenants of the space, renting out the space they don't need to others. All action centres around these guys, who are a proper organisation with interesting people and things. These guys also get all the luxuries.

Summary: working on your own is terrifically invigorating and productive. Adapt to it.

Me and the view out the window
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Aussie Chick wrote:

"Guys, I never thought of this. I mean my goal is to quit my job and write shareware from home.

I would love to work from home, but I never thought about the lack of social intervention."

I'm a househusband and (extremely) part-time consultant with kids aged 6,4 and 2.  The lack of social interaction with entities that don't wan't me to sing "Fruit salad, yummy, yummy" or dance like Tinky Winky is by far the biggest drawback of working from home.  More so than the interruptions, working early AM so I can concentrate or the stigma of being a male at home ("No really, what do you do at work?  You got a day off?").

My adult interaction consists primarily of flirting with the bored housewives at the kindergarten or primary school.  Has its moments, but you can only do that for so long before you get bored or into trouble.

So be careful what you wish for - I've got 3 years to serve before I can rejoin the "real" world.  ;-)

"If I get too bored I can always have babies...that would be fun!!!"

Oh'll lear.......never mind ;-)

Before anyone asks, yes we can afford childcare but we've decided to raise our kids the old fashioned way ie parenting ;-)

Motown (an Aussie Dad)
Thursday, November 27, 2003

OT: we want to raise our children like that two.

I think stalin once said "give me a boy until he is 7 and I will give you a man".

meaning that he would be able to influence a child so greatly in the first 7 years of life that it would shape his personality.

now, I have never actually double-checked that quote...but I always liked the sound of it.

I want to be the one influencing my children at such a young age.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, November 27, 2003


"Give me a child for the first seven years, and you may do what you like with him afterwards."

<following was plagarized from the web and heavily edited for length by me>

Quotation books attribute the saying to  a "Jesuit maxim". The Jesuits are often asked about this, and do not really know the source for the quote. The primary source for the origin of the idea of the quotation is the Ratio Studiorum, a sixteenth century document composed by Jesuits describing the characteristics and structure of Jesuit education. The Ratio and its mythic maxim are discussed in a 1985 America article by John W. Donohue, SJ. "The legendary saying is not just spurious but is the exact opposite of what actually was said in the first draft of the famous Jesuit plan for schools…The six veteran teachers who in 1586 wrote the Latin essays making up that draft recommended that no boy be admitted to a Jesuit school before he is seven. Children less than that age, it explained, are troublesome and need nannies, not schoolmasters." Like so many sayings, the quote's actual origin is lost in the sands of time.

Rob VH
Friday, November 28, 2003

A lot of really good suggestions... that is... unless you live in the middle of nowhere.

    nowhere == rural PA.

...can't even get broadband let alone a walk or drive to anyplace that has anything that resembles a real coffee. I miss North Sydney. Great coffe... grat "bird life". :)

Arron Bates
Saturday, November 29, 2003

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