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USA Today on Telecommuters October 5, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Technology, Workforce.
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I never thought I’d link to USA Today, but their Life Section (that’s the purple one) cover story on telecommuters is really quite good. Their article, “Working out of a ‘third place’,” tells how telecommuters don’t always work at home – and how many find a non-office locale to get their work done. (Yes, Starbucks is mentioned in the article.)

In addition to the fun profiles of telecommuters and their quirky “third place” culture, the article reinforces a core issue that I’ve tried to bring to life in this blog – there are LOT of people telecommuting:

An estimated 30 million Americans, or roughly one-fifth of the nation’s workforce, are part of the so-called Kinko’s generation, employees who spend significant hours each month working outside of a traditional office.

That’s right – 1 in 5 Americans telecommutes. What is your community/region/state doing to promote the relocation of telecommuters to your community?

After the fold, take a look at USA Today’s rules of etiquette for “third space” workers:

  • Tip big and eat often. Think of those hourly lattes or scones as rent for your table, payment of which is critical for the survival of any business welcoming busy squatters.
  • Take it outside. Keep cellphones and PDAs on vibrate, and when they do buzz, head straight for the door.
  • Don’t be a hog. It’s fine to keep your things piled on a table when you step out for a breath of fresh air, but not if you plan to be away a while.
  • Careful who you trust. Because thieves and hackers work fast, take important hardware and documents with you for anything but a quick run to the sugar-and-napkin station.
  • Keep your eyes to yourself. Resist the temptation to sneak a look at neighboring laptops with this crowd, it’s considered as egregious as stealing company secrets.
  • Cords get right of way. All electrical outlets are fair game, so expect to accommodate the odd power chord as it snakes past your dominion.
  • Look for the high sign. Even though mere inches can separate you from a fellow teleworker, realize that only when both parties issue a mutual greeting is it OK to invade those invisible offices.
  • Come loaded for meters. Nothing drives veteran virtual office workers crazier than being asked for quarters to keep the parking police at bay, so bring your own stash and if you want to make friends fast a few extras to help out a newbie.

And now you know.

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