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The Laid Off IT Guy! Telecommuting

Posted June 24, 2009

Topics: Information Technology

I read stories that say the next big wave of employment will be work from home opportunities.  I’d sure like that to be true.  The writing assignments that I’ve shared with you over the past 2 months have been done from the comfort of my home on my own schedule.

With my previous employer, I had an employee that did a terrific job for us, but the problem was that his family was miserable.   You see, I moved him from his Florida home to our company headquarters and while he excelled at the job, his family, particularly his wife, missed her family down south.

This gentleman was prepared, and actually tendered his resignation, to keep peace at home.  I didn’t want to accept it, but after interviewing several replacement candidates before he left, I concluded that he could probably do this job remotely.  I proposed the idea to my staff member and senior management and had to build a case to support it, but it worked, and has been for the past 4 years.

I’m pretty sure that telecommuting like that wasn’t among the norm 4 years ago.  We took a chance and it paid off.  You certainly have to have the right person that can work from home.  It takes a really strong work ethic to isolate yourself and focus on work at least 8 hours per day.  My friend was one such candidate.

Here is some HR information for you.  Douglas McGregor in his book, “The Human Side of Enterprise” published in 1960, has examined theories on behavior of individuals at work, which he called Theory X and Theory Y.  Theory X assumptions were that because of their dislike for work, most people must be controlled and threatened before they will work hard enough.  Theory Y, on the other hand, assumes that control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work, and that people will direct themselves if they are committed to the aims of the organization.  It definitely takes the Theory Y candidates to make the most of the telecommuting experience.

Let me hear from you.  I’d love to know if you are working from home, either independently or for an employer.  Please post your comments to share with me and our readers!

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