On Working Remotely

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Tue Dec 6 04:20:04 UTC 2011

I teleworked for a few years back in the '90s. I would share a couple
of thoughts:

1. You have to have the disposition for it. For a coder, you have to
be the kind of person who sits down at a computer and writes code,
just because. If it would "require discipline" for you to work from a
home office, telework may not be right for you.

2. If most of the team works in an office, full time telework for any
member of the team is hard. Folks working together in an office
develop a social dynamic. Folks who aren't there aren't a part of that
dynamic. Teleworking is most likely to work out when most or all of
the team teleworks, not just particular members.

2a. You can still telework two days a week and spend the other three
in an office. But not Monday or Friday. Especially not Friday -- after
the rest of the week working in the office, you just won't do it. Your
brain will turn off if you try to work from home Friday after Thursday
in the office.

3. Beware tracking hours. Try to select work which is goal and
deadline based. Your supervisor won't see you in your seat; he can
only judge your performance on what you actually accomplish. When I
teleworked, I found myself taking breaks to mow the lawn, ride a bike
on a nice day or tinker with a personal server. Tracking hours under
such circumstances is almost impossibly hard. Measuring progress
towards a goal is less so.


William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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