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Comment Waking up at work (Score 2) 230

I've been 80% telecommute for the last 5 years, and just two months ago started a 100% telecommute job. New employer is PST, I'm in Central timezone. On top of the new employer being very good with communication technology, it also just really helps to make telecommuting work when you have an organization of people with effective and complementary work ethics in general.

My previous employer was Eastern. Waking up AFTER your co-workers have already started their workday is annoying and gets old very fast, especially when the people to the east of you are idiots. Many places tend to treat email as a realtime communication tool these days, which breaks down very easily. Almost daily, I would wake up to an "urgent" email thread requesting a ton of last-minute work from me as soon as I "get in." I learned to check (and double-check) whether somebody else had been contacted to do it, because a majority of the time they would have found some other schmuck without telling me or even replying to the thread with a "nevermind."

It's no wonder our General Manager was a diehard "presentist." His constant, unsubtle reminders of how much better it would be when (not if) I relocated to HQ were one of the reasons I jumped ship. He knew I did all my work and then some. He knew first-hand that I performed better when I didn't have a herd of caffeinated New Yorkers drooling on the back of my chair and asking about my non-existent opinion on the recent sportsball encounter. He knew I was underpaid even though the cost of living in my hometown was almost 50% of that in HQ. Yet he still thought it was more important for me to relocate than to recognize and exploit the increased efficiency of keeping Grumpy Goldstein happy and alone in his secluded batcave somewhere out in the midwest.

If your company is always managed by firedrill, with poor planning and project management, it's a safe bet that your telecommuters are going insane. And he was shocked (SHOCKED!) when I left.

The only inherently tough part of working from home that I still struggle with is keeping my family from being too much of a distraction without creating unnecessary distance. I don't like keeping my office door closed unless I'm VERYBUSYDONOTDISTURBFORANYREASONBEWAREOFBEARS, but if I'm honest that's rarely the case. Sure, there are times when undivided focus would be a good idea. I just don't like shutting them out, because, well... They're my family, and I'm quite fond of them and wish them to be happy. I've considered putting some sort of studio light outside my office door: if the light's on, do not enter. But that's probably overkill. Most of the time, my wife will just IM me from the other room anyway, which works most of the time.

Anyway, now that I've gone from several wrong-way-to-do-it telecommuting jobs to one that is modern and good at it, I wonder if there are any decent trade groups for telecommuters. Or, better yet, I'd love to let some coke-bottled researchers observe my habits for some university study on long-term telecommuting.

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