Just as on-site workers must have a plan if disaster strikes and they can't get into the office, telecommuters should be able to relocate somewhere if their power or Internet goes down. After the recent hurricanes in the south, some of Harper's team used their mobile 3G/4G hotspots to stay connected as they evacuated away from the storms.
OmniCom's Kelly says managers have to be honest with workers about their responsibilities. If their job is to stack racks or power-cycle servers, then they need to be in the data center. Also, if they are working with a division that is high-touch, then telecommuting has to be limited.
To start, all employees should plan on being in-office to gain their managers' trust, he believes. "Co-workers want to know that when they hand a trouble ticket off, you're going to solve the problem. And it takes time to build those kinds of relationships," he says.
With so many job candidates clamoring for full-time telecommuting, companies not restricted by regulatory compliance have to reconsider their level of flexibility. Otherwise, they could miss out on some of the best IT talent around.
Gittlen is a freelance business, technology and lifestyle journalist in the greater Boston area. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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