Is it Worth it to Telecommute?

Sun Microsystems says yes


 The Hypoxia bicycling club scored a rare coup—getting cyclist and sys admin Zee to come on two rides in the Rocky Mountains over two days this summer. His confirmation email said, “I managed to get those two days off! I’ll provide phone support during that time.”

Phone support? That’s not “two days off.” That’s the dark side of telecommuting: the corruption of play. Even if the BlackBerry never vibrates or rings, he'll expect it to. And if it does ring, he'll find it far more difficult to wrench himself away from thoughts of work afterwards, unless maybe he's screaming down Boulder Canyon going 45 mph on a bicycle.

That's him. Me, I can handle that, you say—I work hard and I play hard. Plus, I need to save gas money.

Well, tell your company about Sun Microsystems. It studied the energy usage of employees working at home versus the amount of energy they’d use working in the office and found that—surprise—working at home did save energy and did reduce each employee’s carbon footprint.

What Sun might not have expected was one IT pro’s response to working at home, posted as a comment at the end of the glowing article at

Here was the comment: I do tech support at Sun. We all "live" in a cube farm in Burlington, MA. When I'm doing my live support thing, I want to be around my fellow trenchmates. Most of the support groups have such a wide range of stuff to know and support, you NEED to be "like the Borg" and share info in real time. Not in IM. Not on the phone. Not via email. Real time. It’s part of the give and take. Even if they did set us up to work at home, I wouldn't do it. I like to keep work at work and home at home. The best part about telework is that the MANAGERS love it meaning they aren't around physically to whine about call hold times and "why didn't you fill in this form before you transferred that call." I'd say a win-win all around.

Do you like the options the BlackBerry leash gives you? Or do you find it strangling your personal life? Would you stay in the office if you could be assured your manager was safely in his or her home office? Could you turn off your BlackBerry, at least while you were bombing down a canyon on your bicycle?

TAGS: Windows 8
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