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Ten things (OK, 9) I love about telecommuting

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN tech columnist Chris Pirillo offers his reasons to try working from home
  • Telecommuting offers huge cost savings to employer and employee alike
  • Your office will likely pay for your home broadband connection
  • No more random interruptions from the office busybody!
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By Chris Pirillo
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(CNN) -- With gas prices inching their way back up and traffic in most metropolitan areas bottlenecking along any rush-hour route, it's a wonder that the majority of the modern office workforce doesn't telecommute.

A self-admitted tech geek, Chris Pirillo is president of Lockergnome.com, a blogging network.

A self-admitted tech geek, Chris Pirillo is president of Lockergnome.com, a blogging network.

The sad fact is that many bosses and personnel departments refuse to see the value in allowing their underlings the freedom to work from home in spite of the massive cost savings of business overhead (i.e. office space rental, work stations, parking, etc.) and potentially increased productivity.

How can employees be working, these short-sighted micromanagers muse, if they're not monitored for every second they're on the clock? Who's going to make sure they're taking their allotted 30-minute lunches and 10-minute breaks? Who will crack the whip when the personal phone calls and water cooler chit-chat get out of hand?

Stuck in the mindset of the 19th-century business model like Dickensian Scrooges, these uninformed overseers fail to see how grown adults could possibly be trusted to monitor their own work habits and get their jobs done without the "benefit" of managerial...guidance.

They don't understand how constant meddling (i.e., calling endless meetings, tapping their watches parentally when employees return from lunch two minutes late, interrupting the general flow by introducing empty priority items over work already in progress, etc.) hinders -- rather than stimulates -- overall office morale and productivity.

Let's say your job really is something that doesn't require you to be shackled to a desk in some office loft's cubicle sprawlscape. You have a daily checklist of tasks that need to be done and, regardless of whatever distractions may come your way, you've got the discipline to make sure you get those tasks crossed off before the personnel department's officially permitted quitting time.

What do you say to a boss who, for no sane reason on God's green earth, resists a sensible appeal for allowing you to telecommute? It's tempting to parrot the immortal words of Redd Foxx's Fred Sanford and say: "You big dummy!"

But don't. Don't. Sure, it'd probably save you the agony of your daily commute, but...

On the other hand, if you're lucky enough to work in a place that does allow you to telecommute but the person who needs the most convincing is you, here are some of the best reasons I can come up with (maybe you'll think of more -- if so, drop me a line and share!):

1. You'll save money on gas and car repairs, and possibly insurance since you'll be traveling less miles every day.

2. No more random interruptions from the office busybody.

3. Worried about not having enough social interaction? Do your work at home and hang out with people of your own choosing afterward instead of whoever you get stuck with all day long at the office! Sure, those social circles may overlap and you might actually enjoy the company of people with whom you happen to work, but my point here is that telecommuting gives you options.

4. Spend a good chunk of your day on the Internet? The office will likely pay for your home broadband connection!

5. Need to share a presentation with someone? Think about putting it up on SlideShare.

6. Need to collaborate on a spreadsheet? Use Google Docs! Stop sending file attachments, already! Seriously, if you've learned nothing else from this article, it's the benefit of using a service like Google Docs.

7. Need to look at someone's desktop remotely? I bet your company's system administrator has a tool for the job.

8. Need to take notes with a group, even if you're not in the same room together? Check out Etherpad.com.

9. Need some kind of radio playing in the background, just for that old-time officey feel? Point a Web browser to Pandora.com or Last.fm. You can define your own stations instantly, based on music and artists you love.

10. Monitor your eating habits, because (I'm telling you) you'll snack more at home than you do at work -- it's too convenient. Hey, I had to throw in at least one caveat, right?

Still reading this at the office in spite of being offered the option to telecommute by your progressive, 21st-century, forward-thinking company? What the heck are you waiting for, you big dummy?

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