Killing the Couch-Loving Individualists

By | June 5, 2006

Is HP’s anti-telecommuting move just a bid to shed expensive jobs? Thanks to my old chum Tom Raftery (thanks for the accommodation, Tom, and congrats on the baby!) Bernie Goldbach reckons it is. And he makes the important point that customers

considering H-P as part of a core IT package during the next 12 months–ensure you are comfortable about the manner in which your requests for assistance are to be handled. The mid-career people who consult with you about your enterprise computing purchase today may not be on the H-P payroll at the end of the year. If you are working with someone from H-P to construct a robust data centre, I would ask whether that project manager or IT specialist has to move. You need to know whether the people who are upgrading your services will be around to service it next year, regardless of the hour of the day when you need help. When you buy H-P, you expect better than Wal-Mart.

What I probably didn’t stress enough in my morning post was that telecommuters, whether they’re doing the washing, mowing the lawn or riding a tractor during conference calls, will probably be at their computer long after the cubicle drones are on the beach parasailing. Telecommuters, I suspect, tend to be more diligent, even if they may take a nap on the sofa (I’ve just got a new one by the way; $150 for a very nice custom-made number from Ojolali) in the middle of the day. Whether it’s through guilt at breathing non-cubicle air or a heightened sense of professionalism born of independence, telecommuters are probably more productive than their cubicle-bound brethren.

This seems to be borne out by a survey in Australia conducted by Sensis, which reported that only 1% of businesses reported negative impacts from teleworking. Staff, however, told a different story: 13% felt they were actually working longer hours, according to The Melbourne Age. It’ll be interesting to see what happens at HP.

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