What kind of teleworker are you?

Summary:Are you a remote worker, or part of a distributed team? A look at the pitfalls of telecommuting.


I must have missed this last month, but this blog post by Bob McWhirter exploring the nuances of a telecommute is a gem.

In it, he explains the crucial difference between being a "remote worker" (a.k.a. an outpost of productivity) versus being part of a "distributed team" (a.k.a. one of many scattered hubs) -- and how it can positively or negatively affect collaboration on your team.

He writes:

When the team is distributed, all communication happens on an equal footing for all members. You use IRC, mailing lists, bug-trackers. You're forced to not rely on hallway conversations or lunch-break chatter.

Everyone can participate equally.

When you're a remote worker, on the other hand, you completely miss out on many communications channels. A dozen people are in a conference room scribbling on the whiteboard, and you're listening blind on the crappy speakerphone.

Not fun.

The solution to alientation and isolation? Make it all or nothing, basically, so everyone's on the same playing field.

"Being a member of a distributed team is beyond awesome," McWhirter writes. 'Nuff said.

Topics: Tech & Work, Collaboration


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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