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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I know, I've ranted about this before...

... but why the hell aren't we telecommuting?

The technology not only exists, but it is pervasive and even somewhat affordable. For a lot of people, possibly even the majority of people working in the corporate world, there is simply no need for them to be physically present in an office for eight hours a day, five days a week.

I realise there are exceptions. Some people really do need to be physically present most of the time. It makes sense for those people to commute. Is it true for everyone? Nope. Most people only need to be physically present for four or five hours a week (based on my own, completely thumb-sucked estimate... but I'm willing to bet I'm not far off).

I also concede that although the technology exists with which to have remote meetings through conference-calls and video-conferences, these are often awkward to administer and are usually an unfavourable alternative to a face-to-face meeting. But I also believe that this is a temporary situation, and as the technology matures it will eventually become the preferred option.

Exceptions aside, there are a great many people who spend a large percentage of their working hours in front of a PC and on the telephone. Is there any reason why such a person should have to spend hours in traffic (not only wasting time, but spewing exhaust fumes) when they have, in all probability, a PC (possibly even a laptop) and a telephone at home?

These people should be working at home most of the time, and only have to report to the office as needed, say for team-meetings or other such administravia that would be too difficult or expensive to orchestrate electronically. But even that should sort of thing should be phased out and replaced with cheaper and easier alternatives... it's just business sense!

The backward-thinking and change-phobic people who I have to share this planet with frustrate me no end. Even if shown in simple logical steps that the old way of doing things is now no longer the best way, they will still cling the the old ways, invoking silly non-sequiturs like "Email is not the best means of communication" and "you need to be able to share knowledge and experience with your coworkers." as if those problems hadn't already been solved by the technology years ago.

In the old days change always had to take a generation or two. Old farts, educated in a particular way of thinking would resist change as long as they were in power. Only once the next generation, educated in the newer way of thinking came to power, following the retirement or death of the former regime, could change be instituted.

Unfortunately we don't have time for that anymore. Change happens too fast now, and those blockheads who are incapable of rolling with it cost the rest of us time, money and, in the grand scheme of things, our very climate!

What frustrates me even more are those idiots who are in a position in which they have the authority to institute telecommuting policies in their own organisations, recognise the potential benefits such policies would bring, and STILL do nothing about it. I don't understand people like that.