Telecommuting

images2Telecommuting or working from home is a trend many companies embrace these days, especially with the pressure of decreasing that office real estate square footage that translates into precious and expensive dollars. With the advent of technology that allows both the office PC and telephone environments to be effectively replicated at a remote location, with the help of the ubiquituous and cheap internet of course, many companies these days are seriously considering a fraction of their workforce to work from home to boost productivity and achieve economies of scale. Given all the right scenarios – secure internet access, a reliable and efficient remote access system, portable phone system – the prospects for telecommuting is ripe. Moreover, telecommuting automatically satisfies a substantial part of disaster preparedness and contingency planning, when an unlikely repeat of 911 wouldn’t wreck that much havoc to a company if a portion of its work force is mobile and not concentrated in one location.

Some jobs are perfect for telecommuting – others are not. Job types notwithstanding, telecommuting isn’t for everybody. Even if it is OK for me to work from home, I still prefer to come to the office for at least 2 days in a week, just to chill with the folks and keep updated with what’s going on. In short, the social aspect of work life is pretty important to me and while I would relish working from home so I could go to the driving range anytime and hit balls ๐Ÿ™‚ I still feel that need to connect with my peers and exchange ideas, socialize and feel I am part of an organization. I have heard of a staff working from home fired because the company found she was updating her Facebook account quite frequently. There are pros and cons with telecommuting but one thing is sure – when you’re working from home most of the time the company isn’t about to trust you 100%. Expect them to check logs, email activity, browsing time to get a sense of your productivity.

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Email Blues II – Misrouted Messages

imagesThis is a sequel of some sort to my previous post – Email Blues. The other day a colleague of mine phoned me and asked โ€œhow do you recall an email? โ€œ Ayayay.. It was obvious to me that he copied an unintended addressee and wanted to intercept the message before it got read by the recipient ! Microsoft Outlook email has a recall message feature but works only when the recipient hasnโ€™t read the email โ€“ yet. If the message has already been read, the recall becomes mere formality because yikes, the harm had been done.

I recall many years ago, when my wife was still working in Pinas – we were on a long distance relationship that time – she had mistakenly addressed her mail for me to her boss, the president of the company ( she was an exec secretary at that time) ! She was raring to go home and hit the send key prematurely , without re-checking the addressee field ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The boss intercepted her before she walked out and showed the message on her screen โ€“ unopened in the inbox. The boss quipped โ€œ by the way, as you can see, I havenโ€™t read it yet. The subject was a bit strange so I called you to be sure โ€œ ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL. Embarrassing ! I ultimately received the email and was glad there wasnโ€™t any steamy language hehe.. and it was her response about my planned vacation to Manila ๐Ÿ™‚

The thought of sending an email to an unintended party scares me, especially if has to do with office matters which are confidential in nature. I also see a lot of people quarelling on an issue over email โ€“ ugh. Why do we have to be stupid to have a transcript, a log of a squabble? A phone call is always best when it comes to settling arguments or disputes because it leaves no track for people to pick up and use against you in future. We all know that email is not the user’s exclusive property. In event of a criminal investigation, employers and email providers are bound by law to turn over email correspondences to the government, and this includes text and Blackberry messages. It may never happen to us but it is important to know our exposure. For now, avoidance of misrouted emails is paramount. A second check of the TO and CC lines wouldn’t harm before we finalize the transmission with the send button !

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