In Minnesota, telecommuting is alive and well

  • Article by: Brent Christensen
  • Updated: March 25, 2013 - 10:47 AM

When people gush about the vibrant business community in Minnesota, they’re often referring only to the Twin Cities. Minneapolis-St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs have rightfully earned a reputation as one of the nation’s capitals of commerce, and — alongside Chicago — are the most prominent places where business gets done in the Midwest.

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elmore1Mar. 24, 13 6:10 PM

Good article! I have worked virtually for a global fortune 100 company for 8 years and it works very well. Think of the reduced traffic, need for expensive office buildings, reduced need for travel (I don't miss it) and employee happiness. Pushing this has a quicker impact than all of the green technology which is still evolving. Good companies and leaders can make this work better than the traditional approach.

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george13Mar. 25, 13 5:27 AM

It's time to put this fad to rest. Just like TQM, it looks good on paper but doesn't work in the real world.

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pumiceMar. 25, 13 8:45 AM

Regarding telecommuting: Let's talk about the difference between telecommuters who are regarded and treated as employees and telecommuters who are reclassified as "self-temployed, independent contractors" and, as such are responsible for payroll taxes, get no benefits from their former employer, are not eligible for workers' comp, and often are responsible for buying/maintaining their own equipment and supplies.

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countrygentMar. 25, 13 9:53 AM

I have been telecommuting on a part time basis for several years. I work from home 1-2 days per week and have an office presence the other days. I prefer to be on-site to meet face-to-face with co-workers to gain collaboration on projects and ensure things are progressing as they should. On daye when I work from home, I spend the additional 2 hours I save by working two additional hours at home. I also save myself and my car the 100 mile round trip to work and back.

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jkl123jklMar. 25, 1310:03 AM

Since co-workers and customers still want to "see a real person" and not just send an email into a dark abyss, those employees that "are not telecommuting" get all the phone, walk-up, stop by the desk, etc. traffic that the telecommuter manages to avoid since they are not at the office in person. It is a huge drain to state over and over and over (like a stuck CD track) - "you need to send them an email, you need to call and leave a voicemail" because so and so is working today - just not sitting here at the office. Talk about a waste of time due to the chronic interuptions for the staff that "come to the office". Never mind the annoyance of the "unreachable" telecommuter(s) each day .... gets old, very very old.

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benjammin3Mar. 25, 1310:10 AM

I've been telecommuting for 4 years now, and I gotta say I could never go back to the office. I get so much more done without the distraction of co-workers interrupting... And in the old office building, a trip to the bathroom would take 10 minutes because of how far I had to walk to get there. Bathroom right next to my home office: 1 minute tops. And I can listen to music (without headphones), which makes me work more productively.

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hankmeadowsMar. 25, 1310:11 AM

Some people simply do not understand telecommuting. Of course there are jobs where you will not be able to do it successfully from home. But what about jobs where you do 97% of your work on a computer? Those jobs are prime candidates for the home. I recently had such a job and was twice as efficient at home because I didn't have to deal with the office interruptions and the noisy people in the office area. People who call telecommuting a "fad" are wrong. They are probably the same people that called computers or the internet/internets/interweb a fad. Yahoo and Best Buy recently restricted telecommuting but 95% of employers are continuing to allow it because they understand the mutual benefits between the employer and the employee. Win-win!

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mplsbizMar. 25, 1310:26 AM

Good article, the author make some very good points. Telecommuting adds flexibility and increases the boundaries and talent pool for which companies may choose from and employ from, including other states as well as other countries which is almost universally going on now. ROWE however is not telecommuting, ROWE is a corporate culture concept that workers must be allowed to work from wherever, whenever, however, they want and must not be constrained or interfered with by management or leadership. So, it should be clarified, ROWE has taken a lot of criticism nationally because it preaches individualism (ROWE = what works for me first and foremost) over the concept of team, (what can I do to help us). ROWE teaches employees to say no to work, and say yes to shopping, teaching yoga, watching tv during the day and to work whenever it fits into the employees personal life. Author makes very good points and telecommuting should not be lumped in with the ROWE criticism.

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bjboydMar. 25, 13 4:48 PM

Fully agree with this commentary. For rural Minnesota, this isn't a fad or an effort to add "convenience" for workers; it's an economic development imperative. Telework holds the promise that we in rural Minnesota might be able to attract the young people we need, and who wish to live away from an urban environment, without us needing to industrialize or them needing to accept subsistence wages.

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smarterthanuMar. 25, 13 6:09 PM

I love telecommuting- I don't do it myself, but then neither does the boss. So guess who has a lot of face time and influence with the boss? Not the ones who are in their jammies at home...

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