Work it: Telecommuting: Old versus new
by Mike Pihlman
Aug 23, 2013 | 2200 views | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tanisha Tanupo helped her mother, Susan, up a wheelchair ramp when members of the community came together to help the family move. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
Tanisha Tanupo helped her mother, Susan, up a wheelchair ramp when members of the community came together to help the family move. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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Last time, we watched as a hypothetical employee — call her Camilla — asked her old-fashioned boss if she could telecommute, and he agreed to let her give it a try. We know she finished her project ahead of schedule. In the next few columns, we will look at how Camilla uses 2013 collaboration technology to achieve her goals.

But first, let’s look at how telecommuting used to be.

In the old days — when this writer first got involved in telecommuting — a telecommuter took home some files, sat down at a desk or kitchen table and worked on those files, or made telephone calls to clients or back to the office.

If the Camilla lived near a neighborhood telework center in those days, she could have worked there and had access to a receptionist, a secretary, copy machines and a host of other office-related items, including possibly a break room. These telework centers could be resources shared by many companies, or the company she worked for could have opened one. Chances are, cubicles would be the office of choice. All in all, a nice place to work close to home.

Today, though, Camilla has it easy. Her home, should she choose to work there, probably has high-speed Internet service. She also has a company-provided computer, email, chat, video conferencing, social networking, a smartphone and other technology that makes staying in touch in 2013 easy.

If she wants to get out of the house, she could go to Starbucks Coffee, Barnes & Noble or McDonalds and have free wi-fi to connect to her work.

In short, Camilla now has an abundance of choices to connect with her OFB while she is working from anywhere at any time she is productive.

Telecommuting is no longer a difficult process.

Next time: Camilla sets up at home.

Mike Pihlman has been a Tracy resident since 1985. He co-wrote the first telecommuting plan at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1990, and he practices

what he preaches at AltamontCowork in Tracy. Contact him at altamont

cowork@gmail.com.

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