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Striving to Keep Teleworkers Happy 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-is-always-casual-day-at-home dept.
coondoggie writes "Employees who work from home or in remote branch offices often feel disconnected from corporate life and worry they will be forgotten and bypassed for promotions. Managers and employees have to make a concerted effort to stay in touch, experts say. At IBM, Pelino and others set out to improve corporate culture. The company sparked new life into an old tradition: IBM Club, which brings together employees for intramural sports, picnics, movies and other types of social, cultural and recreational activities."
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Striving to Keep Teleworkers Happy

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  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @08:50PM (#17231238)
    > Employees who work from home or in remote branch offices often feel disconnected from corporate life and worry they will be forgotten and bypassed for promotions.

    Don't worry. So do the people who work at the head office.

    • Re:Don't worry. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Salvance (1014001) * on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:19PM (#17231500) Homepage Journal
      Do teleworkers actually think they'll receive promotions? At the companies I've worked for, 9 times out of 10 the teleworker is working from home to have a better work/life balance, not because the employer asked them to. As bad as it sounds, promotions typically come to those who are willing to drop everything for their employer.
      • Re:Don't worry. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:32PM (#17231618)
        DING! DING! DING! He got the right answer!

        Exactly. Anyone that thinks you get promoted for good work is a nutcase.

        you get promoted by knowing people, smoozing the executives, sacrificing your family and life for the company.

        Anyone that puts family or themselves first NEVER get promoted.

        Yes, I do know that this is fact, I was there and did that. 2 marriages and my health lost before I realized that climbing the corporate ladder is not worth it in any way. Yeah you get the 6900 Sq foot house on the golf course, the pair of Z06 vettes in the garage and that BMW 7 series.... but all you get to do is look at pictures of that stuff and maybe visit it 2 weekends a month, except the BMW that you drove into the ground at 260,000 miles in 7 years to only impress the other guys at work and honestly is no better than a decent buick but cost you a crapload more and lost 90% of it's value. Oh dont forget you are nearly eyeball in debt because you have to have that "image" working!

        Promotion? that's their nice way of saying "Hey we would like to screw you harder while making you say thanks!"

        Upper manager jobs get filled by friends. Not by hard work or skills. I chased that herring for 14 years.

        Get a decent paying job AWAY from the big cities where a house is sanely priced, cost of living is sane and you can live 15 minutes from work (GASP!) your life is better. FAR BETTER.. I'll take a $44,000 a year job in a small town over a $250,000 year job in the city any day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          Get a decent paying job AWAY from the big cities where a house is sanely priced, cost of living is sane and you can live 15 minutes from work (GASP!) your life is better. FAR BETTER.. I'll take a $44,000 a year job in a small town over a $250,000 year job in the city any day.

          Housing is more expensive in the city. Then again, salaries are higher. And, yes, you can live 15 minutes away from work - if you're lucky, you won't even have to drive in. As far as the corporate ladder, there are plenty of opport

        • Re:Don't worry. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Zephyr14z (907494) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:00AM (#17232634)
          "Anyone that puts family or themselves first NEVER get promoted." I completely disagree. I have yet to give two shits about any company I've worked for, and usually get promoted pretty quickly. Office space has it right. Just a straight shooter with upper management written all over me, I guess. You're definitely right about good work having zero to do with promotions, though. Talking with your boss(es) instead of working is generally more to your advantage.
        • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @01:01AM (#17232960) Homepage Journal

          I've worked several companies that not only encourage telework, they require it. Most people call it "tech support", and making yourself available in that capacity is not a bad thing for the career. It just means you spend your life carrying pagers and cell phones, contractually guaranteeing response times that tie you close to home and network.

          But face time is important. If no one sees you or knows what you do, you don't exist. Come budget time, neither does your paycheque.

        • by drsquare (530038)
          Surely it's only fair that the most committed people get the best jobs? If you were sacrificing yourself for the company, you'd be pretty pissed off if you were passed over for promotion and it was given to a relative part-timer who just sees it as a source of income.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I totally agree on that one. I nearly killed myself out of loyalty to my last job, literally. One of the best companies on the planet, but not worth giving up even a minute of my family life. The idea that it's not family, but money or work status that will bring happiness is the biggest lie our culture tells to its children.
          • The best company in the world wouldn't have *let* you nearly kill yourself working so hard, nor would they have allowed you to completely neglect your family. The best company knows that happy, healthy workers are better workers...
        • I've been lucky enough to figure that out a little quicker that it sounds like you did, although I'm sure figuring out how you get out of the debt kinda keeps you right in there (which is all part of the plan). I have one foot out of the computer industry at this point, working for a small town as their part-time fire marshal. You can't beat the job security, and the job satisfaction (as leat for me, a 14-year volunteer firefighter who is happy to finally show up proactively rather then after things have
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)
        at a company like IBM they have many Field Service or Support Engineers spread out where they live in their geographic region, but might report to the office 100 miles away. They're either fielding calls from all over the world for their specialty, or they're running from customer to customer...

        My Brother and his wife did the Sales and Training thing for a while.. the company was in OK.. so each person worked from home and flew to the customer all over the world. Unfortunately, they had many of the same

      • Re:Don't worry. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gmack (197796) <gmack.innerfire@net> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @10:04PM (#17231822) Homepage Journal

        As bad as it sounds, promotions typically come to those who are willing to drop everything for their employer.

        I can tell you that statement is actually quite often crap. Working extra hours and dropping all sense of personal life for your employer is like putting a giant sign on your forehead that says DOORMAT. Why should they promote you and pay you more when they can pay you exactly what your getting now for the same price?. Aside from that it shows you have no backbone and therefore no leadership abilities. If you can't stand up for yourself now how will you stand up to people under you?

        This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I used to spend all my free time at work and put in whatever hours the boss asked for. Now I find I get taken much more seriously now that I have learned to stand up for myself.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Timothy Chu (2263)
          > I used to spend all my free time at work and put in whatever hours the boss asked
          > for. Now I find I get taken much more seriously now that I have learned to stand
          > up for myself.

          I think that you can only now stand up for yourself BECAUSE you put in your time and got the experience. Anybody who starts a job without demonstrating their skills/dedication/etc to the job is not going to be taken seriously.
        • by salesgeek (263995)
          I can tell you that statement is actually quite often crap. Working extra hours and dropping all sense of personal life for your employer is like putting a giant sign on your forehead that says DOORMAT.

          The problem: many companies have a culture that rewards doormats for being walked on. Time is all we really have. Use it wisely.
        • I can tell you that statement is actually quite often crap. Working extra hours and dropping all sense of personal life for your employer is like putting a giant sign on your forehead that says DOORMAT. Why should they promote you and pay you more when they can pay you exactly what your getting now for the same price?. Aside from that it shows you have no backbone and therefore no leadership abilities. If you can't stand up for yourself now how will you stand up to people under you?

          This is a lesson I lear

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by macp (1039680)
        I had traditional office and was booted out as part of a company cost saving measure. Coworkers that sat on company sites or at customer sites were also asked to work from home. Sometimes working from home is NOT a personal choice, and it has its positive or negative ramifications for the employee and his or her family, the customers and the company. It's a myth that working from home always brings you better work/life balance -- it often negatively affects work/life balance, in that your home is your off
      • I live more than is easy to drive every day, which is my primary reason to telecommute. Other reasons: better lifestyle. Less interruption and cube noise means better productivity, which means I look worthy of promotiion. Phones & internet keep me as well connected as I need to be. I have an easy excuse to duck out of meetings I want to avoid. I can conf call in and still do something useful, or maybe sit in the sun while the rest of the participants sit in a stuffy room.
      • Do teleworkers actually think they'll receive promotions? At the companies I've worked for, 9 times out of 10 the teleworker is working from home to have a better work/life balance, not because the employer asked them to.

        While I think this is generally true, my previous employer ordered a rather large number of our employees to work from home so they could consolidate office space and save money on office rent. It is correct to say that the employees were ordered to work from home. They had no choice in
    • Not Again.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here come the "corporate culture" wonks, yet again. I love how an entire industry of HR consultants and managers have bought into, and actively promote, this notion of corporate culture as something that can be "improved" or changed. Generally it only goes downhill over the long run once these kinds of initiatives are enacted, because most people see it to be what it really is: a feeble attempt at controlling employees emotions and psychology to make them feel personally accountable for business success or
  • by LeddRokkenstud (945664) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @08:54PM (#17231272)
    But if a promotion didn't come, I wouldn't be upset. As a teleworker for a local staffing service, I save enough money on gas alone. I have the comfort of my own bathroom, the comfort of my own house, and the comfort of my World of Warcraft video game on my breaks. I really wouldn't trade that to have to travel to the office every day and interact with people, even if it means never getting promoted.
    • by biocute (936687)
      I think that's the idea.

      If one really wants to climb the corporate ladder, one should really be in the office, this is not only for the additional exposure and attention, but also for the opportunities to gossip and receive extra insider information.
      • by mungtor (306258)
        Exactly. Even the "coming into the office" part means that you are willing to put forth effort that other people are not. If you have some skill on top of that, you should be considered for a promotion before somebody who doesn't maintain physical presence. Not because it means your better, but a large part of managing effectively means that people are able to find you when they need you.
  • ...which brings together employees for intramural sports, picnics, movies and other types of social, cultural and recreational activities."

    So you mean I may have to hang out with all of the peeps in Accounting AND Bookkeeping!?!?

    Sounds like a good chance for PFY and I to take care of those numerous denied expenses from my last expense report all in one swoop. ;)

  • by hotrodman (472382) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @08:59PM (#17231304)
    Yay.. Another opportunity to have the athletic drag the non-athletic of us into 'competitions'. I'm not even fat or out of shape....just tired of Little Leagues that extend into your golden years...
      - E
    • by Xaria (630117) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:06PM (#17231374)
      I think you've got the wrong attitude there. Don't see it as a "competition" - see it as a chance to have fun with your workmates. If you look at it as an opportunity rather than a drag then not only will you have a good time, but you might actually get a positive outcome. Turning up to this sort of thing meant my face appeared on the radar of senior management. In a social environment your more unusual abilities can be discussed.
      • by hotrodman (472382)
        Maybe you have had better experiences than me.....but I have really tried. I have a bad attitude for sure, but only from years and years of putting up with same old shit. That, and I have plenty of social interaction outside work, and prefer to keep work and everything else separated. But of course, YMMV.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        I think you've got the wrong attitude there. Don't see it as a "competition" - see it as a chance to have fun with your workmates.

        I bike, I ski, I hike. But I just look silly playing "catch the ball" for some reason and am not very much good at it[1]. I want to be able to do sports that *I* like, not the sports that others tell me that I *should* like.

        [1]- possibly due to a brain infection of unknown origin as an infant that caused temporary paralysis.

        -b.

      • Where you all get together and let someone from marketing do some face painting on you or play silly kindergarten games.

        If senior management only looks for people that can play silly games, and don't have the ability to identify real talents that make their company work.... well that company is going to be pretty fucked.

      • I think you've got the wrong attitude there. Don't see it as a "competition" - see it as a chance to have fun with your workmates. If you look at it as an opportunity rather than a drag then not only will you have a good time, but you might actually get a positive outcome.

        Yes, I believe that every employee should be forced to participate in mandatory employer-sponsored Aussie-rules football games. And to use their own money to participate in mandatory employee-sponsored poker tournaments. And, while they

    • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:19PM (#17231502)
      In the military we call it Mandatory Fun.
      • hey I modded you in another post so I couldn't post one of my best freinds was the owner of the Nipa Hut in the PI when were you there? Lennny at gmail.com
        • by couchslug (175151)
          Visited once while killing time between "hops" back to da Kun' in 1984.
          Damn Pinatubo made certain I'd never get orders to Clark, unfortunately. :(
    • by udderly (890305) * on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @10:02PM (#17231800)
      It's a fine line...you have to look like a competitor in order to be thought well of by the Fantasy Football League morons but also remember to throttle back your game so that you don't show up your boss in front of everyone. I made that mistake once.

      The first year I was working for a former employer, I beat my boss's boss out for first place in a charity road bicycle race. In all honesty, while I knew that the general rule is that you're not supposed to beat the boss, he had been going on and on for weeks about how he "hoped that he would have some real competition."

      I've been racing bicycles competitively for years, so there was no doubt in my mind that I could beat him. But I thought that I would just lay back the whole race and then act like I was going to challenge him on the last hill but let him win. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite as good a cyclist as he had been letting on, and halfway up the hill he pulled off to the side and puked.

      Needless to say, my employment there was short-lived.
  • by jeaster (600452) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:02PM (#17231342)
    This is one of the reasons I finally left IBM. While I worked in RTP, at an IBM campus, I loved it. Surrounded by IBMer's, there were lots of activities and clubs for us to use. Once I moved to a customer site, all that disappeared. Left in a supply closet, reviled by the customer and IBM alike, we festered. Job satisfaction dropped, and so did that feeling of belonging to IBM. Add into that the drastic cost cutting IBM has implemented, and things generally sucked. We all stopped going into the office because of gas prices, and roving bands of irate customers. IBM made no effort to get the local people together. Now that they are trying to breathe "new life into an old tradition: IBM Club" I predict the same old same old. This "club" in unfunded, ignored, and generally cast aside. IBM needs to start investing again in people, not gimmicks and cheerleading.
  • by CyanDisaster (530718) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:03PM (#17231358)
    ...At IBM, Pelino and others set out to improve corporate culture. The company sparked new life into an old tradition: IBM Club, which brings together employees for intramural sports, picnics, movies and other types of social, cultural and recreational activities...

    Wouldn't it be ironic that the people it is intended to bring together might not hear about it because the notices for those activites is posted in the lunchroom?

    Why yes. I am an optimist. Why do you ask?

    Hope be with ye,
    Cyan
  • My manager lives in a different time zone, her manager lives in a different time zone from here, and so on until we find the manager who lives on another continent. See there is no there there.
    • And often that is horribly inefficient. Unclear instructions left for you in the morning (your time) may have to wait until the next day to be clarified. Unless it is standard practice to drag people out of bed at all hours of the night.
      • You haven't meet the efficency of the BlackBerry/cellphone combo!!! The IBM CEs I work with don't have offices... probably don't even sit at a desk... between the blackberry/cellphone and laptop, they "go to work" at their first customer of the day and are "done when they're done". Everything is remote... orders, calls, parts ordering, callouts... It's quite slick... but they keep those guys brutally busy.
        • by gelfling (6534)
          You're both right. Work that's mobile, task and work order based is very efficient this way. Work that's more collaborative, more project oriented is a lot harder. I have never met any of my last 5 managers in person. I think it's a disadvantge to me personally, careerwise. The upside is that no one really cares the hours I keep.
      • by rifter (147452)

        And often that is horribly inefficient. Unclear instructions left for you in the morning (your time) may have to wait until the next day to be clarified. Unless it is standard practice to drag people out of bed at all hours of the night.

        Oh no you don't get off that lucky. Because the unclear instructions contain an unclear deadline that is hours away if that (a time is given without a time zone...) and the wiseass that sent said instructions is asleep on the other side of the world, and is your boss. Bes

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nice little spin there by IBM -- its been my experience that 40% of IBM's workforce is now in sales and / or on site constractors. I hardly call being put up in a hotel and working at a client site "telecommuting"
  • Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Khel (34966) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:08PM (#17231402)
    As someone that was an IBM employee and still knows people that work at IBM I can tell you that this is mostly spin. Moving people to work from home is all about the mighty dollar. IBM saves quite a bit in expenses by having people work from home. Also, IBM doesn't really care that much about it's U.S. workforce as it is primarily interested in moving jobs to India. The last announced goal for the workforce in India is 40,000 employees. Little hiring is being done at all in the U.S. by IBM while attrition continually reduces the U.S. numbers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)
      The telecommuters are the ones with the most secure jobs... because IBM NEEDS them to be geographically close to the customers. It's the people that are doing all the leg work. Unfortunately that would be really bad SO disconnected. I'm not a people person, but when I'm left completely alone and ignored even by the boss, my disposition goes downhill fast... the kind of slide maxed out on Prozac can stop... It's the main thing that's kept me from traveling jobs even though I'd be REALLY good at it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by siegesama (450116)

        Different kind of telecommuter here. In this case, we've just been moved from cubes back into our own homes. No traveling, no customers. Just doing the work that would normally be done from the cube farm. Almost all communication is via email and IM, with the occasional conference call thrown in.

        The team I've been working with lately is all based out of Poughkeepsie, and I live near RTP. A VPN connection is cheaper for my department than office rental, network port rental, and phone port rental, so it's e

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by scromp (148280)
          I also work from home most of the time. You would benefit, I think, by setting aside a "work area," and even "work computers." When 5pm (or whenever you like to quit) hits, leave that area and don't look back until the next day. I'm not saying you shouldn't goof off on the net while working, but don't goof off working after hours. It makes a world of difference.
  • Employees who work from home or in remote branch offices often feel disconnected from corporate life

    That's exactly why I freelance instead of work for a corporation.

    I live in the mountains and can go skiing, paragliding, mountain biking, climbing etc whenever the weather permits and fit my work (about two days a week is enough to pay the rent/bar tab) around my play. Sure, I don't have a lot of money but if I worked full time in London I'd spend it all on going to the mountains on holidays.

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Sure, I don't have a lot of money but if I worked full time in London I'd spend it all on going to the mountains on holidays.

      The problem with large corporations is that they're moving their employees to bumfuckia to save costs, and then paying them less, so they don't end up with more disposable income. I *like* being in the city (NYC in this case). Then again, I'm freelancing so I have the advantages of being in the city and of (somewhat) flexible hours.

      -b.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:18PM (#17231480) Homepage

    A basic problem with "telework" is that promotion within the company is unlikely. But job changing is easier.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bmcent1 (598227)
      Who mod'd this insightful?

      I've teleworked over 5 years and received good raises every year. Telework had no impact, positive or negative, on promotions. They were based on performance, and keeping the customer happy. I was actually more organized working offsite, because 1) I could work without interuption and 2) I knew I had something to prove and that was fine with me, they granted a great perk and I stepped it up in return.

      Getting paid is all about being valuable (and making sure your value is known.

  • Wh..what?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shads (4567) <shadus.shadus@org> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:27PM (#17231574) Homepage Journal
    >Employees who work from home or in remote branch offices often feel disconnected from corporate life

    I thought that was the PRIMARY benefit! What more could you want? Do yer job, do it right, do it in your PJs.
  • I have the answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:38PM (#17231658) Homepage
    Beat the shit out of the managers that make teleworkers have to justify that we are really doing our jobs away from the office.

    It never fails, it seems every quarter some moron in Finance or some new manager in some department questions the value of teleworkers and other stupid comments or questions about the people they dont see daily.

    When you have to defend yourself in SPITE of your work quality and quantity on a regular basis it kind of makes us really pissy.

    • There are two reasons for this. Some teleworkers really are lazy, and the dweeb in finance is jealous. I suspect it's a bit more the latter than the former.

      I don't see the issue here, really. Promotion usually means a change in function which reduces the direct productive work you do in favor of management. Teleworkers are all about productive work - if they really wanted to be management, they'd hang out with the people at the office trying to climb the ladder. This usually is because they either don't li
  • by m0llusk (789903)
    Sometimes being a part of office culture can open opportunities for conflict, and teleworkers may have the best longevity because they are spared the indignities of office noise and too much closeness.
  • by mixnblend (1002943) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:44PM (#17231702)
    So....now besides going to work 9 to 5 monday to friday and beyond...you go on company branded organised excursions with your fellow employees and their families...at which you all bond and the company tries to let you know about how much they care about you? I'm sorry, but this for me (and I'm sure quite a number of my generation) is pretty much what's putrid about western corporate culture today....when it suits companies, they want to have 'a positive one on one relationship with someone'[personifying probably the least personifiable construct on the planet] whether it be customer or employee, that 'lets them know they care'. When it doesn't and a companies execs want to put the boot in its 'not personal, just business'.[my fellow programmer incidentally reckons the only way to deal with that line is to make it personal]. Western business culture today seems in practice at least to either use the company as a vehicle for overtly oily and condescending overtures to customers or employees, or as a shield to hide behind when extremely irresponible decisions have been made. Its why, if I cn help it, I never want to work for a large company in my life. Once the damn things pass a certain size, they take on a personality all of their own, and it's generally not nice.
    • So....now besides going to work 9 to 5 monday to friday and beyond...you go on company branded organised excursions with your fellow employees and their families...at which you all bond and the company tries to let you know about how much they care about you?

      The problem is that in su*burp*ia, you often don't see a lot of faces outside the company since everyone's working different hours, taking care of kids, whatever, and in most suburbs, people don't even walk on the street that much. So it isn't a matt

  • Disconnected (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:48PM (#17231720) Homepage
    Isn't the point of working from home to be "disconnected from corporate life"?
  • IBM Club.... not a widely adopted, nor invested in approach. Now it is "IBM Spirit" to supplement the short comings of IBM Club. Most remote people don't have access to either. If you are in a few key large cities then you are okay, but what about the other 70% of the employee base? Not addressed. If you take that for granted, that you will lose all corporate/group dynamics and you like to work on your own, then, the new IBM is just fine. Yes, a lot of it comes across as Cheerleading. The real
  • Promotions (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If it is a promotion you want and are not getting here is what you do. Call the boss on the phone or
    run into the office to talk to him. Tell him you would like to be promoted to such and such whatever that may be. One of three things will likely happen, he will either say no, say yes or try to passify you with some BS which is the most likely course of action. Now if he says no or throws you some BS you have two courses of action.

    1. Sit at home for the rest of your life and do your job like a good little bo
  • by jomama717 (779243) <jomama717@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @10:17PM (#17231912) Journal
    I work full time from home in a senior development position and can relate very much to the disconnected feeling that is discussed in the article, but the solutions that are discussed are addressing the wrong problem in my opinion. The problem is communication but it is professional communication, not social communication that is often lacking.

    We have found that short and sweet daily "stand-up" meetings in the morning with only the immediate team members (others of whom work from home as well) are far more helpful than weekly or monthly all-staffs or get togethers. In my experience it is rare that more than 2-3 people actually speak on an all-staff conference call of more than 10 people - how can that help improve communication? Get togethers at a restaurant or park, what have you, are fun and allow for familiarization but they are outside of work and do nothing to improve the day to day communication of the issues at hand.

    We have also found webcams to be unhelpful, the concensus being that without eye contact it's just TV. Screen sharing tools like VNC or webex paired with a speaker phone are far more effective when extended collaboration has to happen, while IM takes care of the rest.

    As far as the promotions go if the team you're on isn't communicating professionally and producing crap code you have no chance of getting promoted - no matter how many funny jokes you tell at the IBM "Lunch 'n Bowl" :)
  • Purest of spin (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lufub (1039644)
    Whoever it was that said this was spin was completely accurate. I work in Pelino's old region-- and have been a telecommuter 15 years-- and he was gone before anyone tried to breath life back into the IBM Club. 'Back in the day' it was ok because, having worked in the office, you knew all the folks who showed up at the events. Now with "professional hires" and the for-hire talent coming in and out you can go to these things and not know a soul there. So, most of us don't go anymore. Pelino himself, when he
  • you do not talk about IBM Club.
    The second rule of IMB Club is. YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT IBM CLUB.

  • Don't judge IBM too harshly. It's hard to get people excited about working for the most boring company in the world.
  • Am I the only one? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daishiman (698845) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @10:57PM (#17232228)

    Am I the only one that actually likes telecommuting?


    Seriously, there's a lot of things to not like about IBM, but telecommuting certainly rocks. For one, I get to skip an hour of traffic coming and going and save up on the money. My job as a sysadmin is very lax and easygoing, and I'm studying Computer Science simultaneously, which means that the free time that I'd spend in the office I can spend home studying or, God forbid, working naked in my bedroom, or outside in the backyard(you CAN take the laptop outside).


    Socializing? You just coordinate your time telecommuting so that you have 2 days in the office so you can spend time with your team (assuming that your team is worth spending time with). I'd tell you, in a day with little stuff to do I'd rather do my own socializing inviting a friend over than spending in with a random coworker.


    And sleep. Man, there is nothing better for your health than getting to sleep an extra hour because of not having to deal with the bullshit of getting dressed and driving. Better yet, you can get out and run or do exercise before tunring the machine on.


    People who dislike telecommuting are simply not creative enough to know how to deal with it. A couple of weekly meetings in person with the rest of the staff suffices to kill the feeling of disconnection. The rest of the free time and benefits you get by being home are absolutely amazing if you use them right. I get to cook, watch TV, or read whatever I want. Yes, it does take personal discipline to lose the distractions when there's work to be done, but it's damn well worth it.



    Cosas de un sysadmin argentino: http://aosinski.phpnet.us/ [phpnet.us]
    • by SpottedKuh (855161) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:33PM (#17232476)
      I can spend home studying or, God forbid, working naked in my bedroom, or outside in the backyard(you CAN take the laptop outside)


      I guess I'd have to take my laptop outside, were I going to be working naked out there.

      • Outside? You mean....out there under the blue roof?

        Man, that's just frightening. No telling what might happen. I might end up walking around the block or some other fresh insanity.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Yes. That is spot on. Because of telecommuting, I didn't have to put my child in daycare for the first year and a half of his life, letting someone else raise him. And now that my wife is recently laid off, he isn't in day care any more. This means that when lunch time hits, I simply walk out of my office, and sit down to have lunch with my wife and son just about every day. My days are 8 hours long instead of 11, which means more time with my family. Yeah, yeah, I know that not everybody wants that,
  • Other way around (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:26PM (#17232436)
    When I was 100% telecommute I was always terrified I would be promoted and given responsibilities that required me to travel, or else, forced to relocate to a main office.

    • When I was 100% telecommute I was always terrified I would be promoted and given responsibilities that required me to travel, or else, forced to relocate to a main office.

      I think telecommuting works better for small, regional level firms in that regard. I don't worry about promotions, because the only person above me is the CEO. I don't worry about feeling unvalued, because I talk to the CEO about once a week about issues.

      There's also a lot less organizational nonsense.

      The downside of small firms i
  • by freeze128 (544774) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:52AM (#17232916)
    I'm a full time Office guy. I ALWAYS come into the office (because that is where my job is - You can't repair the computers when you're at home).

    Just today, one of our Account Management Reps (who usually works from home, but comes into the office 1-2 days a month) came in and brought Soup, Cake, and christmas cards for everyone in the office.

    She loves to cook, and she loves working at home, and the people who work in the office get positive reinforcement for working in the office.

    Of course, there are the occasional remote users who never bring munchies, and only call to bitch that comcast sucks.... but screw them.... No soup for you!
  • "IBM Club, which brings together employees for intramural sports, picnics, movies and other types of social, cultural and recreational activities."

    These sorts of activities panda to only a small clique in any organisation. While I'm sure the jocks and cheerleaders all think this is, like, totally cool, there's a bunch of us that would rather chew off an arm than participate in these sorts of "team building" exercises. Meanwhile, I pull out a deck of "Fluxx [wunderland.com]" and those rah-rah types suddenly go all quiet.

  • If I was founding a new, startup company nowadays, I would base it almost completely on telecommuting workforce. Therefore there would be no disadvantage for any of the employees compared to any other one.

    There are numerous savings for employer due to such business decision:

    First, lower rent (or real estate price) for office (and parking) space.

    Second, lower electricity and water bills, as well as no need for too many janitors, security personnel, etc.

    Third, I can find workforce that will accept lower pays:
  • Back when I was at a company with a lot of telecommuters, we did a few things. We had an IRC channel for idle chatter, and a mailing list or two.

    The biggest improvement, I think, was the introduction of the "Watercooler Call". Every Friday at a particular time (it was around 1PM my time, I think), there was an hour long conference call to which all the engineering sorts were invited. There was a firm policy that work not be discussed during this call.

    It really did help.
  • I telecommute 4 days a week. This spares me from what is usually a 3-hour round trip. Every time I am about to start bitching about my job I remember:

    1. No longer having to keep two cars, which saves me a ton of money in insurance, maintenance, personal property taxes, etc.
    2. No longer blowing $10/day on lunch, or having to worry about packing a lunch.
    3. Not having to put up with overpriced coffee, or crappy company-provided coffee. At my previous job I had to resort to bringing my own pod brewer and keep a
  • The company sparked new life into an old tradition: IBM Club...

    I hope they bring back the sing alongs from the IBM Song Book [etypewriters.com].

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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