Project Management

Jane? Jane Who?: The Disappearing Telecommuter

Miriam Ziemelis

Every client who has a telecommuting program has gone through some growing pains. Take our overachiever Jane for example. She was a shining example of one of your best programmers, and you rewarded all of her hard work with the opportunity to work from home. After all, you know she has a very long commute, and her work can be accomplished easily from any location. But as the days and weeks went on, you began to doubt that she was working as diligently as she had when she was on site. You don't hear from her very often. In fact communication is at a minimum. Of course, when you think back to when she was on site, it was not as though you spoke to her that much every day. So what is happening here? Are you obsessing because you don't physically see her every day, or are your concerns legitimate and perhaps Jane's performance has taken a turn for the worse? Should you bring her back in and just cut your losses? Well, if I had to guess, I would say not only is this situation salvageable, but with a few changes, you will again feel completely confident in Jane's performance and your telecommuting program.

Let's begin with examining some basic flaws that some managers unwittingly run headlong into by adopting a telecommuting program without actually putting any processes in place. They simply give the employee the right to work from home with the typical e-mail dial-in …

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The smallest feline is a masterpiece.

- Leonardo da Vinci