7 general questions on
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 12:50:52 +0100
Subject: Questions from a journalist
From: Wiegand.MediaServicesHamburg@t-online.de (Wiegand &
I am a German freelance journalist writing an article about
Telework. May I ask you to answer some questions (not for quote,
just my background information).
And these are the questions:
1.- What is the biggest mistake beginners of
2.- Do you have three brief tips what one should do when
setting up a new Telework/Telecommunting office at home?
3.- Which is in your personal eyes THE biggest advantage of
4.- ... and what is THE biggest disadvantage?
5.- Could you name three jobs which are perfect for
6.- Generally - what future developements do you see for
7. Would you like to add anything yourself?
I would be very glad if you could answers these questions.
Thanks so far and best regards
WOLF ACHIM WIEGAND
Wiegand & Wiegand Media Services
Question 1: What is the biggest mistake beginners of
- The biggest mistake beginners of Telework/Telecommunting
make is to think that it is possible five days out of
five without physical contact with the people at the
- Thinking that telework were a job by itself.
- I hope I haven't made any big mistakes yet.
- employees: switching to telework before the enterprise as
a whole is ready (for example, if the enterprise is not
self-employed: assuming that its easier to get work as a
teleworker than by being on-site (in general its actually
more difficult at present)
- Not sticking to office hours and allowing their work to
take over their domestic lives.
Question 2: Do you have three brief tips what one should do
when setting up a new Telework/Telecommunting office at home?
- When setting up a new Telework/Telecommuting office at
home try to set aside a room just for this and hang a
notice on the door that says KEEP OUT (Kids, dog and
wife/husband ), get the tools right, keep regular hours
and don't overdo it.
- a) organize his space
b) organize his time (don't forget to go to bed)
c) organize the perception of his work/leisure by his
friends and familly
- I feel my transition to homeworking was helped by being
able to continue with an existing project with the same
line management, targets, etc. This allowed me to see
easily if my performance was affected, spot problems
quickly and correct them.
- (a) Have separate phone numbers/lines for work and for
private use, with the ability to switch the business line
through to voicemail when <not working> (THE most
(b) Have <defended space> that enables you to
separate work from leisure/family
(c) Be sensitive to the fact that the home belongs to the
whole family and that telework isn't its main function
- a) Find a social outlet and become active in that.
b) Manage your time effectively
c) If you have to buy your own equipment, make sure you
get value for money.
Question 3: Which is in your personal eyes THE biggest
advantage of Telework/Telecommunting?
- THE biggest advantage of Telework/Telecommunting is
geographical and time independence.
- Time saved
- Increased independence.
- employees: reduced time/effort/cost/environmental damage
self-employed: avoidance of the cost of maintaining an
office outside the home
- I can work when I have the inspiration.
Question 4: ... and what is THE biggest disadvantage?
- THE biggest disadvantage can be lack of daily social
- What is disadvantage ;-))
- Too much independence.
- There are only significant disadvantages when something
is wrong, usually this means the person shouldn't be
teleworking. See http://www.eto.org.uk/faq/faq03.htm
(which is about benefits, but down the page there is a
heading <Are there drawbacks?>
- Inspiration usually strikes at 3 a.m.
Question 5: Could you name three jobs which are perfect for
- Three jobs which are perfect for Telework/Telecommuting
are journalism, translators, and software
maintenance/hotline support but there are many more
(sales staff, call centre staff).
- Writer, translator, searcher (and, one further day,
- Mine, yours, theirs.
- Almost any information-focused, communications-focused
job is appropriate for telework, for example hotel
bookings operator, public speaker, radio presenter . . .
- No, the individual matters too.
Question 6: Generally - what future developements do you see
- Opportunities can be created for economically depressed
areas under the generic terms offshore teleworking or
Telecentres. However the expectations have often far
outweighed the successes .
- To remove ancient barriers between industry, services,
- Network bandwith will be a more important asset than
NCs, wireless portables and software rented and/or
developed "just in time" will make teleworking
even easier especially for those where use of IT is
peripheral to their work.
Participation in groups outside the employing
organization will allow teleworking employees to develop
faster and adapt quicker.
International employment. Teleworkers will be as likely
to work for a company on another continent as one in the
- (a) In the not-too-distant (but not immediate!) future
telework in its general sense will become as
<normal> as commuting is today
(b) The buoyancy of local economies and communities will
be dependent on their successful participation in the
global networked economy
(c) Many Europeans will continue to defend the past
against the future
(d) Unless we start to accelerate very soon now, Europe
will become a customer region not a supplier region in
the world economy (the Africa of the Information Age)
- Increased use of videoconferencing to conduct business
meetings: provision of tuition by remote means: all
future developments are dependent on strategies offered
by big business. IMHO Telework will take off in Britain
once a) the cost of ISDN lines comes down and/or b) the
cost of local calls for Internet connection is zero.
Question 7: Would you like to add anything yourself?
- As soon as people have non-office based access to email
they invariably become Telecommuters . This simple
criteria changes what used to be known as taking work
home to delivering work from home i.e. Telecommuting .
Access to mobile phones has greatly increased this
paradigm shift. Offices become more formalised meeting
places rather than workplaces. Meetings become more
intense and issues/actions/results driven.
- If you pay a coffee, I will add that telework is just a
part of a more fundamental change in the organization of
- I've assumed Telecommunting is Telecommuting. Was I
- Thanks for raising these interesting questions.
Responses are from:
- Alan Husselbee, ETD User Communities
- Hubert Houdoy
Reseau d'Activites a Distance
- Michael Saunby
Teachmore Farm, Jacobstowe, Okehampton, Devon, United
Kingdom. EX20 3AJ
- Horace Mitchell
European Telework Online
- Chris Rams