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Opening Arguments

Work, work, work

How cool to be able to go to work without having to, you know, go to work:

Imagine a work world with no commute, no corporate headquarters and perhaps not even an office in the physical world at all.

For Bob Flavin, a computer scientist at IBM; Janet Hoffman, an executive at a management consulting firm; and Joseph Jaffe, a marketing entrepreneur, the future is already here.

These days we do so much by teleconference it really doesn't matter where you are," Flavin said.

Like 42 percent of IBM's 350,000 employees, Flavin rarely comes in to an IBM office.

"We don't care where and how you get your work done," said Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's global health care and life sciences business. "We care that you get your work done."

IBM says it saves $100 million a year in real estate costs because it doesn't need the offices.

I envy my brother more than any other salaried employee I know. He works for a company in Houston but telecommutes from his home in Hill Country, Texas, several hours away. "Going to the office" for him means stumbling out of bed, firing up the coffee pot, then wandering into his den to turn on the computer.

I'd love to do that, and it is technologically possible. I'm doing this at home, in fact (as I do most of my blog posts), while I watch Sandy Thompson tell me about the chance of showers tomorrow (today). But there is apparently some rule about a newspaper employee having to interact with real people -- I don't know why; I find my cats to be much more agreeable company. And I am the procrastinator's procrastinator -- my motto is "Don't put off till tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow." If I didn't have to get up, leave the house and physically go to the office,  I probably wouldn't get anything done.


larry morris
Tue, 08/28/2007 - 11:30am

Yes, the ability to telecommute has always been possible in my occupation (I write software) - I can remember doing it over dial-up lines in the mid 80's. Today's advances in the internet and high speed connections just makes it more possible and productive for almost any occupation, not just mine. There are about 19 people on the extended team I work on and 8 of us are fully remote, spread out across the entire country. I regularly have conference calls with people in California, South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and here in Texas, and we