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Aug 12, 2005
Concord, NC
My department is starting to explore the possibility of telecommuting as a contigency plan due to inclement weather. I'm curious if any of you have this situation at your job and, if so, how is it managed. I'd love to be able to offer some input to my bosses so that, in the future, this would be an option that could be explored and taken advantage of in the future.
Feb 25, 2008
If my place of business is closed down due to weather, then the non-telecommuters get a day off with pay, able to play in the snow with the kids, relax and watch movies, enjoy hot chocolate, etc.

and the tele-commuters get to work at home.

I have not signed up for telecommuting.

Chris H.

administrator emeritus
Jul 1, 2004
Tulsa, Okla.
My team has people that work from home full-time and a large portion based at corporate. For years our company has been implementing technology that will allow employees to easily work from anywhere, in part because so many folks travel but to a lesser extent for business continuity. We don't issue desktops, everyone has a laptop regardless of role. Upgrades/improvements have been made to VPN architecture and many things are available securely outside the firewall. All that to say, the number 1 thing for telecommuting is having the technology available to make it successful. If your VPN is going to be crushed by the load, then nobody can be productive from home.

Priority 1a is trust. If my employees are working from home do I trust that they are getting work done, or are they taking care of kids, doing household chores, binge watching their favorite shows? This is obviously a bigger issue for the full-time work from homers, but we do allow office-based people the occasional work from home day to accommodate things they need to be present for (repair men, deliveries, etc.). Managing this is a much softer skill and it's difficult to put hard rules around what is/isn't acceptable. One thing that we were seeing quite a bit of was "I'm going to work from home because my family will be in town"....wait, are you really going to be working in that situation? Within team leadership we've started to discuss there being true "work from home" situations vs. "PTO but will check in and am available if needed" and asking people to request those situations accoridngly. For inclement weather days some folks will be in category A and others in category a team it is up to us to make sure critical tasks are accounted for on those days.
Jan 28, 2011
Dallas, TX
Why limit the telecommuting option to inclement weather days?

There are a few jobs where you physically have to be present, but this is largely limited to point of service and manufacturing. For jobs where you're in front of a computer all day, there is absolutely no point to having to go to the office daily. Many companies are starting to realize this and are starting to evaluate employees based on their actual productivity instead of the number of hours they're at work. The latter is a terrible metric to base performance on.

Not everyone is cut out for telecommuting, but it only takes a few days to see if they're jacking around instead of working. For the people that are, they are often times MORE productive while not in an office environment. You don't have random people stopping by to ask questions or talk because they're bored, nor do you have 2 hours of commuting per day. This allows you to focus on the task at hand. They usually end up putting more hours into the day as well. Yes, they may have things to tend to during business hours on occasion, but they're also just steps from their office in the evening and on weekends. This leads to "honey - I need to look at something for work" quite a bit.

Technology, and having a dedicated work space is absolutely critical. They must have a reliable phone line, fast internet connection, understand how to use Skype (or other screen sharing software), and have access to a good FTP (I recommend FileZilla).