Archive for July, 2006

One of the Benefits of Working at Home

For those who don’t know, I work in a home office in my basement in Maryland. I telecommute for a company in California and I manage projects with people from three continents. I am one of the 2% of the American workforce that is a full time teleworker.

Telecommuting full time is not easy. You have to communicate better and perform better than your office bound counterparts to get the same amount of recognition and career advancement potential.

I have a family to support, so career advancement is an important issue for me. So you may be wondering why I would want to make it more difficult to get a promotion.

One reason is lunch. Yes, Lunch.

I save $7-$10 a day by going upstairs for lunch rather than to the local greasy spoon for my mid-day meal. Of course that $1600 a year is not the reason I like lunch at home. I like it because I get to eat lunch with my two-year old son.

Yesterday, I gave him chicken nuggets for lunch. He ate all but two and then said, “Daddy’s nuggets” and began rotating the plate so that the nuggets were closer to me. Whether this was generosity, a lesson in sharing, or a clever ploy to get out of eating the last two nuggets was anyone’s guess.

In any case when he completed the 180 degree rotation, he stopped, got a funny look on his face, giggled, pointed at the nuggets and then said, “Eyes!” He realized that the 2 nuggets at the top of a blue plate looked like a funny face and was amazed by the discovery.

So there it is. In 30 seconds, I got to see my son plot, plan, execute, use his imagination, discover, and communicate his creative discovery with glee.

This is remarkable to me because last month I was amazed when he started putting together words into sentences that made sense. The month before that I was amazed when he started saying, “Yes” to things instead of the ubiquitous “No, no, no!” that was his response to nearly every previous question or request.

By eating lunch at home, I get to watch my son grow, learn, and discover. I don’t miss out on the mischief, plots and bursts of creativity that only happen in the middle of mundane tasks like eating lunch.

Watching your kid grow up is an amazing thing that I get to do more often because I am not sitting in traffic for two hours day. I know through the little things discovered over lunch that he is smart and becoming more clever everyday. This is a great thing to see, because it let’s me know that the extra $1600 a year I am putting into his college fund will not go to waste.

Save Time and Money!

The Baltimore Business Journal made a shocking claim. It says that employees’ reluctance to telecommute costs them a lot of time and money.

They gleaned this information from the 2005/2006 National Technology Readiness Survey.

Of the survey respondents, 25% had employers that supported telecommuting or jobs that were conducive to telecommuting, but only 11% actually took advantage of telecommuting.

If the folks that could telecommute managed to do it once or twice a week, they would save a collective $3.9 billion in gas alone. This number doesn’t count wear and tear on the roads or pollution.

The median commute found in the study was 10 miles and 20 minutes each way.

The survey was prepared by Rockbridge Associates and sponsored by the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

What is Telecommuting?

What is telecommuting? What is telework? Lately we have had a number of visitors searching for the answer to these questions and I realized that I haven’t answered them directly before, so here goes…

Telecommuting or telework is an arrangement where some or all of an employees tasks can be done at a location other than the designated central office or worksite.

Traditionally the home is generally used as the “other” location but it can be a hotel room, a customer site, a coffee shop, the back yard, or anywhere that the environment allows the employee to complete their tasks or projects.

Both terms “telecommute” and “telework” were coined in 1973 by Jack Nilles, a rocket scientist that became known as the father of telecommuting. Both words are now used interchangeably, but the original use of the term telecommute referred to the ability of telecommunications technology to eliminate the need to travel or commute physically to a central location.

Telework is made possible by technology, but it is the very human qualities and specific skillsets of the teleworker and the manager that make teleworking arrangements successful or not.

How To Set up a Home Office Network: Part 1 – Getting Internet Service

How To Set up a Home Office Network
Part 1: Getting Internet Service

The first step in setting up a home office network is to figure out how you are going to connect to the internet. You need an on-ramp to the information superhighway. There are several different ways to get on the Internet. This is good because competition lowers prices and improves features, but bad because marketing geniuses have a gift for confusing everyone about their choices.

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How To Set up a Home Office Network: The Overview

How To Set up a Home Office Network: The Overview

This is a multi-part series to explain in simple language the process of connecting to the internet and setting up a home network.

The Overview – Includes a checklist. Looking for the basics? Start here.
Part 1: Get Service – Choosing an internet service provider
Part 2: Get Connected – What equipment is necessary for connecting one or more machines to each other and the internet.
Part 3: Get Secure – Securing your network from hackers and pests. (coming soon)
Part 4: FAQ – Submit your questions in the comments or using our form. (coming soon)
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