As I've recently discovered, telecommuting is an option that organizations should offer and prepare for.
Responding to my recent editorial in the ZDNet Asia SMB e-newsletter (see box below), three readers gave the thumbsup to telecommuting which, despite the negatives, has tremendous benefits. One reader also offered some reasons for the lack of telecommuting in Singapore.
Read their experiences below, and if you, too, have something to share, drop me an e-mail, or write your comments in Talkback below.
I work for a U.S.-based MNC in the software business, and my company is set up for telecommuting.
We do sometimes work from home when the need arises, and the company is okay with that.
Thank God for the Internet!
But one thing I realize is most people do not know how to manage their time. For example, I notice colleagues logging in when they get home and they leave the computer connected to the company network through the night.
Allowing staff to work from home does increase worker productivity, but I think work-life balance goes down the drain! I think people need to know how to manage their time and understand how to make good use of the ability to connect to the office network from home.
I was working from home for about two years in my previous job, and I came up with a schedule where I would log in in the morning to clear my e-mail but get out of the house to meet friends for lunch and see customers in the afternoon.
I think I am like you--I need the social interaction, so that schedule works perfectly for me.
End of the day, work-life balance is very important to me, and it takes top priority. I know some companies don't like that attitude, but I actually believe if we can achieve a good work-life balance, it makes me more prodcutive at work!
It's about business continuity
Your piece is very timely. In fact, here in Hong Kong we had exactly that situation in early 2003 when SARS almost crippled normal businesses. I was working with a large bank, and we split our teams such that half worked from home for the period as part of the business continuity plan. With experts predicting an eventual pandemic based on the H51N virus or bird flu, this planning will be even more critical.
Michael R. K. Mudd
director of Public Policy, Asia-Pacific
CompTIA Hong Kong
Build trust and reap the rewards
Coincidentally, I am in the midst of planning a company policy that allows my employees to work from home. I share your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of working in the office vis-a-vis working from home. Those were right on!
I believe corporate Singapore should not shudder at the thought of working from home if they can build a measured deliverable system in place cemented by the character of human trust and professionalism.
Well, hopefully, my company's staff will like our new working-from-home concept.
What do you think? Is your company set up for telecommuting? Drop me an e-mail, or write your comments in Talkback below. Published letters will be edited for clarity.