Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Telecommuting-From the Queen of Hills

Continuing with the odesk article and the aggression it brought forward, I thought I 'd pen down some thoughts on the way the remaining year has passed and what it has brought as the crests and troughs of being on your own-work wise.

Started with a big bang when recession hit and the fear of being sent home looked plausible. My company was thoughtful enough to keep everyone employed, but sent everybody home with a five hundred rupee laptop and a salary which was now paid directly to them. Thus came Telecommunication to India, and if The Flat World told us how bandwidth availability and Worldcom helped India get on the IT Map, then efficiencies and the search for cutting down operational expenditure brought to us the real remote work situation.

With it came power cuts, bandwidth blackouts, barking dogs and a till now unknown fear of joblessness. But its also brought the sweet tasting Remote work-the company has been open minded and has embraced it in spite of the known risks to allow resources to work from home in India. Its a maverick move and I am not in a position to say if it paid dividends, but sadly unlike as it should have stayed-consultants hired to work on their own at home-people quit and moved on to regular jobs, and their jobs were taken up by smaller companies with regular employees posing as 'contractors'.

The current model isn’t exactly a hit but its survived. I want to focus on the title of the post-telecommunicating and highlight the upsides of freedom with the downsides of responsibility.

Telecommuting Yay!

  • Freedom to travel anywhere, log in from anywhere and work any time as long you attend the calls
  • The basic groundwork on being an entrepreneur and the freedom of self employment-the ability to see the value -for example an MBA 2 year stint v.s. an Entrepreneurial 2 year adventure
  • The ability to question your role as an independent worker viz-a-viz a corporate employee, and to determine life's priorities which get lost in the daily humdrum/rat-race
  • No More petrol Bills, Traffic Cribs or protocols of commuting, free time better spent
  • Concentrate on real work, and have time for the distractions that have been ignored making you dumber every year
  • Office politics seems like a thing in the distance-m sure it’s alive but seems like its virtual
  • Shut off work when you leave office if it given you hypertension-no more. More like shut off work when you log out
  • The value of communication
  • Time and its real value -and an ability to optimize
  • Music at your volume -freedom of choice
  • The ability to voice your concerns and opinions since unlike corporate HIPPO* rules-every opinion counts
  • Going to the GYM is no more an excuse and the timings are up to you
  • You realize water boils at much lower temperature in the mountains :)

Telecommuting Nay!

  • The value in office humdrum and camaraderie-although I don’t know how many would agree
  • The ability to communicate better in less time/energy when you know direct communication is better than aided
  • No direct career path since being a contractor means you are on your own
  • More time to travel means more adventure and more ability to crash :)
  • Managing finances and Tax Returns is now up to you-since effectively it’s a small self owned business
  • Need to mention here-Health Insurance since no one is taking care of you
  • Retirement planning-your parents were insured by the Government through Pension Schemes which are inflation proof but you are on your own
  • The biggest lesson is self discipline which the lack of freedom never imposed on anyone


*HIPPO-Highest Paid Person's Opinion

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