b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Pie In The Sky?

5/05/2006

 

Pie In The Sky?

Telecommuting is a nice idea for a lot of people. Companies institute this practice as a benefit to employees to help cut down commutes, and to show flexibility for a good work-life balance. Some of the best companies employ such programs.

However, not all companies allow for telecommuting. Granted, not every job can be done from the comfort of one’s home. So right there we can’t question why everyone isn’t “doing it”. For those companies that have it and allow employees the benefit to work from home, there are still individuals who are not allowed this privilege. Let’s look at some reasons why some managers shoot those people down:

1: Perhaps the subordinate’s job isn’t truly flexible enough to allow it. While the benefit and capability may be there, the job may be too volatile to rely on a fixed schedule of being away from the office. If the job is such that impromptu meetings spring up, it may not always be feasible to be on a conference call regularly. Face-time is premium in some jobs. If you think about it, out of sight, out of mind really can come into play. Being present in the office is sometimes the best option.

2: The boss is a micro-managing jerk. Let’s face it, if you work for a micromanager (and many people do), you’ll probably never be allowed to take advantage of this perk. There may be ways around this. For example, if you’re new enough with the company it may take some time to earn your boss’ trust. Prove that you are a reliable employee. Over time, you will be allowed more leeway. If not, well, get used to the four walls on the inside of your cubicle. If your manager is the type that is nothing but insecure or a power freak, they will need to keep you under close watch at all times. It doesn’t matter how good you are, these people will never bend. Remember, you are not in the business of managing or changing other people. You’re in the business of managing and completing your own workload.

3: You are simply not reliable. You know if you are or not. Perhaps your boss is right to keep you in the office full-time. Are you a slacker? Do you spend more time surfing the internet more than you should be? Deep down, we know when we’re working hard and when we’re hardly working. You are simply not a good candidate for this and cannot be left on your own.

Keep in mind that I didn’t enter office politics into this equation. That’s a separate discussion and not a true black-or-white situation. I’m not saying that reason #2 is a good reason, but it’s probably free from political motives (unless the boss keeps you around because they feel threatened by you). Of course, not everyone wants to work from home all the time either. There are many positive aspects to working in an office. Having the company of others is the frontrunner for this.

More to come later.

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