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Teleworking in the UK? 301

Posted by Cliff
from the meanwhile,-across-the-pond dept.
neiljt writes "As a UK-based IT worker living about a 90-minute journey from London, I am interested in the idea of working from home, or teleworking. In the UK, however, the take-up of this practice has been less than frantic. My own immediate plan is to find work at home here in the UK, however my ultimate aim would be to find employment, which gives me the freedom to live where I choose. What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer. What about a UK citizen living outside the UK working for a UK or US employer? (Feel free to substitute your country of residence)"

"The arguments will probably be familiar to most here, but I will state them anyway, just to be sure you know how I'm thinking.

Advantages for me:

  • Save journey time of 3 hours per day
  • Save travel expenses
  • Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.)
  • Be fresh and alert when I start work
  • Feel better at the end of the working day
  • Be at work promptly each day
  • Work in a pleasant/relaxed environment
  • Ready access to my (large) technical library
Advantages for my employer:
  • Cost savings
  • Office space savings
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased motivation
Advantages for society:
  • Reduced traffic congestion
  • Reduction in total travel and therefore pollution
There are a number of disadvantages and factors to consider, though none should be insurmountable. A couple might be:
  • Employer needs to monitor quantity and quality of work performed
  • Internet connectivity (mine currently limited to 56Kb)
The above illustrates that some take-up of the teleworking approach would be in the everybody's interests, but I am frustrated at the lack of good quality resources I have been able to find on the subject. There seems to be plenty available explaining the concept, but very little in the way of actual assignments or contacts. Of course I may have been looking in the wrong places, so if you know better (and I hope you do), please share.

It would be interesting to hear both from employers who support (or would support) this model, and from employees who have successfully negotiated employment at home.

In general, have your experiences been positive? If you have had problems, how have they been resolved? And now that the technology has been available for at least 10 years, will teleworking ever take off in the UK?"
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Teleworking in the UK?

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  • My experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by warmcat (3545) * on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:45AM (#6075014)
    I am also UK based and have worked from home like this.

    A couple of years ago I worked for a fabless semiconductor company coming in to their offices (50 miles away) one day a week and working the rest of the time from home. I was already set up with a cablemodem and PCs, there was no problem doing the actual work and keeping in touch by telephone. So "the problems" have "been solved", in IT-type work.

    All of your advantages seem realistic, a disadvantage you'll probably have to add is to have to carefully manage your motivation. I found that a phone call and a chat would cheer me up and get me going if the news was positive, more often in that company the news was negative or depressing and it requires some mindgames then to keep yourself pouring energy into the work and not slumping in the chair thinking "what's the use?". Being on the phone regularly and documenting where you are at in a place easily visible from the office (CVS, email project dumps, etc) can deal with the monitoring problems in a good way.

    However, this company had the most amazing political situations going on. I found that by not physically being there all the time there it was easy to miss out on the latest twists and turns in the ongoing sagas, and that in such a hothouse political situation that can be a big drawback. I also found that there was a tendancy by others to regard myself as less committed, simply by lack of physical presence, even though in every other way it was clear I was playing more than a full role. So there are psychological issues in not being physically present when problems and bad or good news comes up, you are not seen to be proactive when someone else is always first on the scene to fight the fire, since the call is going to come to the office.

    The advantages are clear, especially if you have children. But the disadvantages make themselves felt pretty clearly too, if you cherish hopes of getting a more managerial responsibility over time, you might find this system is not helping you towards that. In the end I quit after 14 months, when the political sagas reached a point where it was clear there was no growth path for myself (and in fact anyone else based in their UK office as far as I could see, three other people also left out of a total staff of 8 while I was there).

    • Re:My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

      by krist0 (313699) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:55AM (#6075038) Homepage Journal
      I am living in the netherlands atm and i agree with the above, especially on the part of how when you are not constantly in the office, it affects how you are seen in the organisation, out of sight, out of mind.

      Its true that there are alot of positive and negative points about working from home, the most important thing i found for myself was making a area at home that is solely dedicated to work, because if you are sitting in front of the TV with a laptop on your lap, you aren't gonna be too focused on your work.

      Mind you, its also a huge time saver as well, as 2 hours work at home (say if you are trying to document something large and complicated) is greater than a whole day at office (constant interuptions)

      i think working from home should only be done when its appropriate, but shouldn't be a regular thing unless you are a outside contractor (paid on completion) or if you have small kids or something like that.

      • In the US, if you have an area in your home solely dedicated to work (second computer and everything) you can take a home office deduction on your taxes (IANATaxGuy).
    • Re:My experience (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hbackert (45117) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:57AM (#6075053) Homepage

      I was working for the IT department of an austrian company in Tokyo. The company grew and office space is expensive, especially if you need to move to another building. The simple fix was, to let some of the developers and translators, who were working already several years at the company, work from home. After all, those do not need physical appearance and they prefer (due to the nature of work) a quiet environment. Something which is difficult to get in a japanese company.

      Worked out well, as it was easy to check they are working by checking the results. The employees (not all wanted to work from home) were generally happy, some office space was saved, travel money (paid usually by the company) was saved, in the end, everyone was happy.

      I think the trick in this excercise was, so let experienced workers work from home. People who are known to be able to motivate themself. And as everyone could check the productivity, the usual problem of teleworking, not being able to tell if the employee watches TV or works 8 hours, did not apply here.

      • Re:My experience (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday May 30, 2003 @08:06AM (#6075284) Homepage Journal
        I know there are as many opinions about this as there are people, but, for me, working from home is not even desirable for the reasons it's supposed to be good.

        *When there was someone in the house and I worked from home, (a) I couldn't get anything done but more importantly (b) I didn't want to see her that damn much anyway.

        *When there wasn't anybody in the house, my god how maddening to get up, go sit over there, do stuff, go over there, go to sleep, repeat. Like being in an institution.

        This isn't the usual "it's no good because you can't get your work done" thing", this is the "it's no damn fun" thing. It's just my opinion, and I'm sure some people have completely different experiences, but I was WAY happier going over to *that* building to do shit just cause I at least get to see two different buildings! and I have a reason to shave and get out of the pajamas...

        But an office is a drag too. My favorite was when I was an accounting consultant. We had about 35 clients. I'd be in one place in the morning, another in the afternoon, sometimes one place for a whole week, sometimes at home. The variety of environments and people was stimulating.
    • I you have provided some excellent evidence that work is a social interaction between people.

      Oh Yeah, you get money in there too.

      It doesn't need to be a social event. But many people in the world make it that way as evidenced by the ongoing political games and rumour-mongering that goes on regularly.

      The other problem you have here in America is trust. No one trusts someone who works from home. The core of the Corporation naturally assumes that you are a slacker if you are not making appearances.

    • Re:My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:06AM (#6075080)
      I also found that there was a tendancy by others to regard myself as less committed, simply by lack of physical presence, even though in every other way it was clear I was playing more than a full role.

      You'll probably never get over this though. If no one can see you at work, you're not working. You could be sleeping at your desk and your coworkers would have a higher view of you than a telecommuter. I don't know if it's jealously or just plain incomprehension of the fact that someone doesn't need to sit their butt at the office to do work for the company.

      It's not like you're sitting there sorting and filing papers or working at a factory. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and most of us could do 99% of our jobs in our pajamas from home. Of course, then you get the frightening prospect that your work could just as easily be farmed off to some low-payed worker in India. It's a double-edged sword.

      • by krist0 (313699)
        My theory about why it doesnt happen to much is the simple fact that most managers (not ALL) have no clue what their techies are doing, or what needs to be done.

        I'm a network engineer, when things work, no one complains, if its broken, i get attention, but day to day, my boss has no idea what i do (come to think of it, neither do i....well, slashdot for one thing)

        the simple fact is (to quote dilbert) your boss usually knows two things about you

        When you arrive/leave.
        What you look like.

        Take those away, th
        • by RMH101 (636144)
          Point 2 is fair enough, Point 1 can be easily taken care of by turning up at the office at random intervals holding a screwdriver or length of cat5 and muttering...
      • Re:My experience (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NetSettler (460623)

        If no one can see you at work, you're not working. You could be sleeping at your desk and your coworkers would have a higher view of you than a telecommuter. I don't know if it's jealously or just plain incomprehension of the fact that someone doesn't need to sit their butt at the office to do work for the company.

        I've telecommuted on and off for about a third of my 20+ year career in computers, and I've thought about this a lot.

        I think the real problem here is that if you are away, the superficial info

    • Re:My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Cally (10873) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:30AM (#6075177) Homepage
      My experience is that the political stuff varies from company to company. Current employer has an amazingly low level of background political radiation. We have several people who very rarely come in, including someone who works from the Czech republic... and anyway, most of us (geek types) do most of our in-office communication using mail/IRC/whatever anyway. What difference does it make whether someone's on the next floor or the next country, either way you won't see them very often. So long as they answer mail, it doesn't really matter.

    • more often in that company the news was negative or depressing and it requires some mindgames then to keep yourself pouring energy into the work and not slumping in the chair thinking "what's the use?".

      Well, I work in an office with a bunch of other sysadmins. And the above mindset describes how we see our jobs 90% of the time. Come 1pm and my mind switches off anway. So being in the office past then is relatively pointless.

      I was off ill yesterday, slept until about 11am, then decided to check my mail
    • Re:My experience (Score:2, Interesting)

      by juraj (262352)
      Hello work. I'm from slovakia and I have been working from home for two years now.

      Personally, not needing to pay attention to political sagas is an advantage for me, since I don't have to care about that. I have my work done and I don't have to bother with unrelated stuff.

      The disadvantage is, that you are not seen and people don't think you are commited. They will eventually see the hard work, when something bad happens and they see how promptly you can solve issues.

      Now I'm also a contractor for other

  • Salary (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:49AM (#6075022)
    If you are willing to work for $8000/yr, I think you have an excellant chance. That seems to be the current rate for teleworking in the US now.
    • Re:Salary (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Malc (1751)
      +1 Interesting? It sounds like a bloody joke! I earn that in a month teleworking.
  • loneliness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kevin lyda (4803) * on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:51AM (#6075026) Homepage
    sounds silly, but it isn't. you're on your own for a lot of the time. you have to do things to keep yourself from going crazy. maybe i've been really lucky, but except for a few rotten apples i've always had great co-workers. and not being able to work with them kind of sucks actually.
    • you have to do things to keep yourself from going crazy

      Care to elaborate on the 'things' you have to do ? Do the voices in your head make you do them ?
      • Re:loneliness (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kevin lyda (4803) *
        go out for lunch with friends in your area from time to time. call coworkers/friends. if you can find a group of teleworkers in your area, get together.
    • Re:loneliness (Score:2, Insightful)

      by the_bahua (411625)
      I don't think it's important what the "things" are. He is just making a point that if you're all by yourself, working for a living, boredom and loneliness settle in more easily.

      I personally don't think I could ever work consistently from home. I need human interaction. A more pressing concern, however, is that the boredom will drive you(or me, at least) to stop working more often than it would at work.

      That's one nice thing about work. You are there with a purpose. Working from home, to me, would be like w
    • Re:loneliness (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tigersha (151319) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:18AM (#6075128) Homepage
      Ask any frustrated new mother who sits at home with baby. The situation is similar. Raising a baby is a lot of work (and you have to be on call all the time) but there is little social contact.

      Work is for many people as much a social activity as it is a financial activity. Being with coworkers who are roughly doing the same as you and working for the same goals does make a difference and being alone will driveyou crazy.

      Also, the whole "discussions at the watercooler" effect tends to go away if you are not there. Those discussion are sometimes very important.

    • Re:loneliness (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scottme (584888)
      I work from home a couple of days each week, from choice, because I can get peace & quiet to work uninterrupted. I'm not sure I'd want to do it full-time, for reasons such as have been highlighted by other posters - like personal motivation, the need to see people face-to-face once in a while, meetings with partners, vendors, etc.

      However, at the company I work for, there are some useful things to help stave off the loneliness thing:
      • we have an internal IM system, which means that most of my colleague
    • Re:loneliness (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Malc (1751) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:06AM (#6075668)
      Well, I wasn't awake in time to post this: you beat me to it. Getting up in a timely manner - especially if you're in a different time zone - takes a lot of discipline. I've been working from home for 3.5 years. It's been tough at times. It didn't help that starting the job coincided with moving not just to a new city, but a new country. You're right: the loneliness is the hardest part of working like this, and if you suffer from seasonal changes, winters can become especially nasty. I didn't think I did, until the last three winters.

      All my friends are my wife's friends. Well, I've started making some of my own, but when you don't get out socially on your own terms, it's slow. You've really got to work hard on getting to meet people, or you'll go crazy for social interaction... and no, chatting on the phone or IM or email with people at work 3,000 miles (my case) won't cut it. It's almost driven me on a couple of occasions to quit, take the 40-50% pay cut to work locally here in Toronto, but work in an office again.

      It's hard to network when you work from home. It's hard for your career to progrees when you work from home: you have to work on easily packaged projects, and more senior roles involving management of others are less effective. You have to have a team that communicates well. Personally, if I were in a hiring position, I wouldn't take on anybody like me who can't even get to the office.

      The flexibility makes up for a lot of it. I'm in a position that allows me to re-arrange my hours as I see fit. It takes a lot of self-discipline though, and a lot of trust by my employer. If I want to run errands during the day, or go for a run, I do. If I want to meet my wife for beer when she finishes work, I do. If I want to sleep in the next day with a hang over, I do.
    • Re:loneliness (Score:3, Insightful)

      by barnaclebarnes (85340)
      I would have to agree with this statement. I am currently employeed as a pre Sales technical consultant with a mobile computing software firm. It can get quite lonely when working from home. A few things to do to make up for it:

      - Have friends close by who also work from home. Regular 'Lunch Meetings' gets you out of the house. Especially today since London is in the middle of sunshine (About time right!). Also Friday 4pm is 'Beer O' Clock' with the mates to wind down from the week.

      - If you are working for
    • local coffeehouse (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lpret (570480) <lpret42@hNETBSDotmail.com minus bsd> on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:55AM (#6076167) Homepage Journal
      I used to work at Starbucks, and a customer would come in at about 10-11 in the morning and stay until about 5-6 with his laptop and work. We got to talking, and he was a developer for a software company in Seattle (this is in Dallas). He said he tried working at home, but he needed to get out of the house and go somewhere to see other people and interact.

      So perhaps working out of home isn't the best idea, but perhaps your local coffeehouse might allow that simple social interaction that would help.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:52AM (#6075028)
    the entire programming dept. of the company I work for telework and have been for the last 3 years. We go into the office 1 day a week for production meetings, though often one or more of us is on a conference call for those too. So long as your type of work allows it. I highly recommend getting one or more broadband connections to your home (I have adsl and cable in case one dies), and using a conference call service (there are many at about 8p/minute if you google for them).
    • Well thats news to me. Obviously your case is more the exception than the rule. Few employers will tolerate employees off site for 4 days a week. I sometimes wrangle a day at home to get some peace and quiet but normally I gotta be there to keep the boss, customers, operations, and the dev team happy
    • It amazes me that you first pay for adsl and cable, and then you spend extra money on a conference call. Why didn't you use VoIP?
  • Advantages. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:53AM (#6075032)

    Yes there are advantages to teleworking.
    Yes it would save company money.

    It will never catch on though. Bosses like to have their staff lined up in little cubicles. They like to feel in control. In the minds of most bosses empire building, politics, and wanting to look like they are in charge is important. Company money isn't.

    How many times has your company wasted money on stupidity because some overpaid fool thought it was a good idea??

    My company does this often.

    • It will never catch on though. Bosses like to have their staff lined up in little cubicles. They like to feel in control. In the minds of most bosses empire building, politics, and wanting to look like they are in charge is important. Company money isn't.

      I've always liked having my team in the office with me and it's nothing to do with cubicals or being in control.

      With teleworkers you can't just turn around and ask them a question, meetings are more of a pain (no visual aspect, you can't use a flip-boar

      • Re:Advantages. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by realdpk (116490)
        For a lot of people, being available so that people can just walk up to you and ask you a question is a big inconvenience - especially developers. The solution here is to have a ticketing system mediating all questions. This increases productivity for everyone because everyone benefits from the answers to questions - not only those who were within earshot and were listening in.

        Meetings can be more of a pain, but quite honestly, meetings are automatically a pain. Most meetings are non-interactive - they're
    • How many times has your company wasted money on stupidity because some overpaid fool thought it was a good idea??

      Hmm, well when I worked at ENRON the upper management rarely made stupid decisions...

      And even over here at SCO things are really smooth... nothing but competence and honest businessmen at the top.

    • Re:Advantages. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AlecC (512609)
      It will never catch on though. Bosses like to have their staff lined up in little cubicles. They like to feel in control. In the minds of most bosses empire building, politics, and wanting to look like they are in charge is important. Company money isn't.

      How many times has your company wasted money on stupidity because some overpaid fool thought it was a good idea??


      That is the way companies were in the past. If doesn't have to be the way companies are in the future. Once upone a time all employees had ti
    • > It will never catch on though.
      >

      I dunno what colour the sky is where you live, but believe it or not lots of people are ALREADY telecommuting, at least some of the time. I can't think of anywhere I've worked in the last ten years where SOME home working was the norm. Apart from a certain horrible US mega-corp [nai.com], management tend to judge by results. 'Presenteeism', ie being in the office in body but absent in mind (for whatever reason) really doesn't work. Any decent employer should trust you to get t
  • Try the banks (Score:5, Informative)

    by mccalli (323026) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:53AM (#6075033) Homepage
    Well, I live in Marlow, which to reach the centre of London is about a 90 minute trip. I'm a contractor and have worked in a few City and Docklands-based banks. Most banks now allow VPNs from home. It's not the norm to work from home, but many are pretty flexible these days.

    Of course, I'm a developer. Not sure what it's like for non-pure IT staff.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • Re:Try the banks (Score:3, Insightful)

      I live in Amersham, and it takes me about an hour each way into London in my car each day (I work in Covent Garden). I don't really see any problems with this kind of commuting - I don't need to get up particularly early (I need to be in the office by 09:30, so I leave around 08:00) and I usually get home at around 19:15.

      I've considered teleworking (possible for maybe 30% of my work), but I ENJOY London and all it's facilities, I don't want to be stuck in a small town (even a nice one like Amersham or Marl
      • You've got to ask yourself, what would you DO with that extra 2 or 3 hours? I'm pretty sure I'd just waste it myself.

        No kids, right...?

        Seriously, a couple of years ago I would have agreed with you entirely. Now, I need to get back to see my baby daughter. Having said that, I use my commuting time as a bit of break where I can do what I need, not what what my daughter needs, not what my wife needs, not what work needs...just some time for me to chill out, listen to music and relax.

        Cheers,
        Ian

  • by Ridge (37884) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:54AM (#6075036)
    Advantages for me:

    Save journey time of 3 hours per day - (I can sleep in an extra 3 hours)
    Save travel expenses - (Forget the car, I can use my Snoopy slippers)
    Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.) - (I only have to trip over my dog)
    Be fresh and alert when I start work - (Morning crack and coffee)
    Feel better at the end of the working day - (I'm drunk by 0930)
    Be at work promptly each day - (Work starts when I wake up... bitch)
    Work in a pleasant/relaxed environment - (Did I mention my crack and coffee?)
    Ready access to my (large) technical library - (Google)

    Advantages for my employer:
    Cost savings - (I can browse for porn at home)
    Office space savings - (No need for a cubicle, I don't have to leave bed)
    Improved productivity - (crack!)
    Increased motivation - (I can say 'fuck you' to my employer and not be heard)

    Advantages for society:
    Reduced traffic congestion - (I'm a maniac driver, if I don't have to leave home no one will die due to my poor driving skills)
    Reduction in total travel and therefore pollution - (When I soil my britches no one will notice)

    There are a number of disadvantages and factors to consider, though none should be insurmountable. A couple might be:

    Employer needs to monitor quantity and quality of work performed - (That's what webcams are for, watch while I surf porn sites, smoke crack, drink my coffee, and soil myself)
    Internet connectivity (mine currently limited to 56Kb) - (My employer should cough up some dough so I can get a broadband connection so I can be more productive in my porn browsing)
  • We all know how fun work is.

    Around lunch time when I leave the office I especially love to turn my speakers on full blast and execute a perl program that turns makes Mozilla go here [mac.com] 10 minutes after I leave.

    I also make sure sure Xscreensaver is on with a password so my other coworkers can shut it off.

    However I found my speakers in the parking lot with piss all over them after I did this. My boss permanently took awhile my priveldge to use speakers after that incident. :-(
  • by jlanng (130635) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:55AM (#6075044) Homepage
    .. and you want that to be somewhere nice... The best option is to start your own business.
    • by inflex (123318) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:18AM (#6075127) Homepage Journal
      Starting your own business is great. . . but don't expect overnight success. I've been working for the last 3 years almost 'non-stop' apart from a change of country and wedding.

      Really, it depends on your personality. Do you have sufficent self-motivation, can you whip your own butt into doing work when you'd really rather just laze in front of the TV.

      It's a choice - do you want the comfort of a consistant (??) pay cheque but without the freedom of time-choice, or vice-versa.

      I recently had the opportunity to telecommute if I was to become an employee of another company, doing almost the same thing I'm doing now - but, then it struck me - the most important thing to me is the ability to do as I please, I'm just exceedingly fortunate that I manage to still make enough sales.

      Regards.
  • by moebius_4d (26199) on Friday May 30, 2003 @06:56AM (#6075045) Journal
    I work from home full-time, and make a good rate doing it. (Occasionally I have business travel, to client sites, say about 10 days/year.) I work for an software consultancy.

    The way I got here was to work for this group full-time on-site on a number of different engagements over a few years. When the first opportunity to work at home came up, I took it. I provide my own hardware and net connectivity.

    Since I have proven my ability to get results and to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer, I got this chance. Since I still make my dates and satisfy the customer, I am still afforded this opportunity.

    It has its downsides, no doubt. My 2-year old daughter doesn't always understand when I can't interrupt myself and come do what she wants. But the time I've been able to spend with her has been priceless, from coming up to eat lunch with her, to dropping by the pool in the afternoon for a half-hour swim, it's been wonderful.

    I consider myself lucky and work hard to keep this opportunity in my life.
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:01AM (#6075063)
    5 days per working week is 15 hours per week.

    Assume 25 days holiday per year which is 5 weeks, so 47 working weeks/year times 15 hours per week is 705 hours per year spent sitting in traffic...

    Assuming 16 waking hours per day, you spend 44 days per year of your awake life just sitting in traffic. A month and a half? That's gotta be fun.

    Assuming a working lifetime of say 40 years of the same, that'd be 1760 days, or nearly 5 years of your life you'd spend sitting in a cage, listening to Chris Tarrant on the radio.

    Now, isn't that an interesting, exciting, useful, challenging and productive way to spend 5 years of your life?

    • by mccalli (323026) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:19AM (#6075131) Homepage
      Assuming 16 waking hours per day, you spend 44 days per year of your awake life just sitting in traffic. A month and a half? That's gotta be fun.

      It can be. Honestly.

      How? Well, I work during the day. I have a 16-month old daughter to look after when I get home, and I often have paperwork too. The travel time can be quite relaxing in comparison - time to sit on your own for a bit, listen to some music...no trouble. If you're capable of relaxing rather descending into road-rage, then it actually can be a good time. A break to get a moment's thinking time for yourself.

      Cheers,
      Ian

  • by Captain Pedantic (531610) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:02AM (#6075064) Homepage
    You could move to near where your place of work is. In doing so you would....

    Save journey time of 3 hours per day

    Save travel expenses

    Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.)

    Be fresh and alert when you start work

    Feel better at the end of the working day

    Be at work promptly each day

    You would also find that you will get better connectivity than 56kbit.

    • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:08AM (#6075087)
      A tiny 2 bedroom flat in London city center can cost £200k-£500k GBP which would be $320k-$800k.

      • And he probably wouldn't save that much travelling time. At peak times pavements can get so jammed it often takes 30 minutes or more to walk a couple of hundred yards.

        Stephen

      • by Cally (10873) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:10AM (#6075711) Homepage
        > A tiny 2 bedroom flat in London city center can cost £200k-£500k GBP
        > which would be $320k-$800k.
        >

        So get a few friends together and rent a house. We paid £1100 pcm for a 4 bedroom place with std. mod cons, front & back garden, 7 mins walks from the tube. (Granted, this was a bit of a bargain, but they're still out there if you're prepared to look.) Get a geek house going and you might be able to club together for a leased line, too. And think of the savings in video rentals when the Matrix, LotR etc come out ;)

        And anyway, tech workers in central London still earn a fsck of a lot more than the average wage, even post-boom and with the City firing thousands. In fact this HELPS- without all those huge bonuses, the demand for very high-end gaffs has dropped off a lot, and theoretically at least that'll ripple down the accomodation food-chain. IYSWIM.

    • Commuting is the most pathetic human activity.

      It is akin to migratory animals who have no choice but to spend half their lives moving south, then the other moving north.

      Moving house to be near work is nearly as bad as being a migrant beast. This is the 21stC ... why should we still live to work. Whatever happened to all of the "increased leisure time" that technology was supposed to bestow on us all??

      Bah!! Work To Live - Not Live To Work!!

      /rant

  • by mark2003 (632879) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:03AM (#6075071)
    I have worked for several consultancies, including big 5, who all allowed home working, mainly due to the fact that they never had enough hot desks in the offices.

    Whilst for some tasks it works really well, e.g. reading documentation, writing presentations etc., for most work I find that it inhibits communication between colleagues. Communication (or lack of) is one the biggest issues that companies face. Many companies spend a fortune implementing all kinds of systems and processes to improve communication, but often the most efficient and cheapest way is to have the entire project sitting at adjacent desks. People then just tend to chat about problems, solutions etc.

    Personally though my biggest problem was sitting at home by myself for an entire day with no-one to talk to. I also found it much harder to motivate myself and would often just put things off while I watched day time TV. Maybe I'm just a lazy b*stard but I don't think I'm that unusual.
    • I sympathise - I'm in the same situation. I've got $$$ waiting on some new [relatively simple] features to come out in my product, but even the promise of money just doesn't kick start my zest to code.

      Instead, I sit here watching slashdot hoping that someone will post a recepie for a major fog-clearing, zest inducing power juice.

      Excuse my while I now go get beaten up in Tekken III by my wife.
    • "Many companies spend a fortune implementing all kinds of systems and processes to improve communication, but often the most efficient and cheapest way is to have the entire project sitting at adjacent desks. "

      M&M mars does this.

      No cubicles! Just desks and rows of desks for groups of employee's who are on the same project. Some of the programmers even share one long foldout table so they can work together if the group is tiny enough.

      Hell even the CEO does not have private office. They have standard
      • I've never had a cube or a office - it makes it really dificult to surf the internet rather than work :(...

        You are very right about the communication though, we all sit here chatting about work over our monitors. Although having a CEO without an office is a bit dodgy - how do they have discussions about financials, redundancies and all those other things that need to done in private? At most companies anyone involved in finance or HR has to have privacy, the former so that general employees cannot be acc
  • by TallEmu (646970) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:04AM (#6075072) Homepage
    Disadvantages for you I can think of are timezones and exchange rates.

    The A$ is currently worth not very much at all (too lazy to look it up) so working "over here" would not be possible - A$50 is a decent enough hourly rate in Sydney, which I think is about 16 pounds and around US$25. I doubt, therefore that someone in the US or UK would want to Telework to Aus. (but contact me with outsourcing opportunities *grin*).

    Timezones. I used to have an office in Switzerland (I am based in Sydney) during the .com boom times. It was hell trying to co-ordinate properly. Language, culture, timezones and the asshole quotient (French people) made it difficult to work effectively - and we had an office!!

    It is amazing that an 8 hour time difference and a lack of understanding on the other side made it difficult. I was regularly attending meetings at 2am and staying back until 7 or 8 on a daily basis. We couldn't change hour working hours much as we had Aussie customers to deal with.

    Now I am working from home by necessity, and I must say I find it more effective, but this is a factor of who I work with rather than the location.

    Motivation is key. Time management is a must. Install instant messaging client to reduce comms cost and provide a feeling of connectivity - you can page people to say hi, ask a question.

    Working from home you can also get a sense of Isolation, of not being part of the "real world".

    It was good recently that I had to go work in the city, put on a suit and get on the train. I enjoyed the variation, it got me out of the house - and also made me appreciate my lair more when I got back home!
  • Working at home.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by cymantic (600615)
    Watch out - if you work from home the employer is responsible for making sure that the environment is suitable for working in. This might not mean a saving for the employer if they have to kit you out with chair/desk etc at home as well as at work (if you have to come in every now and then), they will at least have to send someone round to check out your _office_ space.

    I'm currently managing to work from home ok, even though it's my three kids holiday.

    Advantages for me are plenty (especially for avoiding
  • To all employers (Score:4, Informative)

    by caluml (551744) <slashdot AT spam ... OT calum DOT org> on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:07AM (#6075081) Homepage
    I was just thinking about this today, coincidentally. I've noticed that I've taken less sick days since I started working for a very employee-friendly company that allows me to work from home if there is work that I can do at home.
    I think it boils down to the fact that some days, when you wake up, you just don't feel like getting up. On those days, at a company that doesn't allow home working, you might be tempted to ring in, and call a sickie. But if you are allowed to work from home, you would probably roll back to sleep for a few minutes, and then get up, and do some work from home.

    The company I work for also provides me with company paid ADSL which terminates in the lab I work for, thus meaning that I can simply plug in to the lab network at any time. This has a bonus for them, as quite often, at weekends, and evenings, if I think of something, rather than wait until the next working day, and/or maybe forgetting it by then anyway, I will log in, and do some work in my own time.

    I really appreciate the way this company treats its employees, and I think the motto is: Trust your employees, don't treat them like slaves, and they will work happier, and be more productive. At least, that's how I'm finding it.
    I know someone that worked through a whole weekend for free, moving servers from one part of the city to the other - from 9 am to 10pm on both days. They arrived at work on Monday about 5 minutes late, and the boss pulled them up about it. Forget thanking them for their hard work (for free!) over the weekend. They quit that job soon after, and got a job with a funky little tech company, and now work harder, as their work is appreciated.
    Obviously, I understand that some kinds of work can't be done from home, but I think in the majority of case, where people write documents, support networks, answer phone calls, they should be trusted with the opportunity to work from home for say one day a week.

    I digressed slightly towards the end there, didn't I? But I see working from home as an example of how a company treats its employees.

  • by zakezuke (229119) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:07AM (#6075082)
    Basic Field support job... basicly a business where time tied to a desk was lost money.

    Most of my best work was done from home. My computers were faster, my connection was faster, I had software the boss wouldn't buy, and saved a 4hour commuite from hell. It wasn't every day I was at home, but about 1/2 the work week was done from the home office, well till eventually I gave up on the whole going to the office.

    The boss didn't really approve though... basicly under the old impression of, "if I can't see you working, you are not working", but at the very least had server logs, VPN access, database access to somewhat justify why I wasn't in the office. Simple answer, "I was working" It was honestly a case where it was pointless to hit traffic go to the office, just to check my e-mail to see what projects were schedualed for the day, then drive back home to complete them.

    But eventually there was an argument over paying me for work done in my home office, basicly a documented claim in e-mail about how he doesn't pay for what I do on my own time, which was fine by me, so I just billed the clients directly rather then going through him, and made more money. He wasn't happy, but it was his choice.

    But the point is that telecommuting can work, provided you don't have an employer who's a total bozo. In my case simple call forwarding to my mobile, or mobile to my land line, gave the illusion of a tradidational office setting. Phone the office, need to talk to the staff, the staff answers. (Little diffrence in America being the cell holder pays for the air time, never the caller, but the office switchboard should accomplish this illusion quite well). I know also that the network known now as t-mobile supported fax to mobile services, where the subscriber who recieved a fax on the mobile could route it to any number of their choosing, again making it easy for the staff not to be near the physical office fax.

  • Isn't the proper term telecommuting? Has this changed while I was in Basic training? Or is this a UK type of thing...? ;) -kalle
  • by jkrise (535370)
    "What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer.What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer."

    1. Cricket: Learn the rules of this (supposedly) gentleman's game. And no, this is not baseball played with a smaller heavier ball. It isn't a chirping insect either.

    2. Conversation: Folks in the UK are quick to note when you're being sarcastic. They're also a bit more relaxed, and can laugh at themselves. Not so high strung as the folks across the pond.

    3. Be
  • You need a visa. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crovira (10242)
    You'll be dealing with the INS. As self-serving a bunch of human beings as you're likely to encounter. They make sure you wear brown lipstick because they have some things (a visa and the power to toss you onto the next plane to nowhere,) only one of which you want.

    It doesn't get worse than that unless you're black, don't dress in visibly wealthy "old money" style and just went through a stop sign...

    America is a great place as long as you have money... Its pretty damn dismal when you don't.
  • I did that for a while and it's great (and I'd like to do it again) but it takes a place where you can work without other bits of life getting in the way. If you have kids, annoying roommates, annoying family, or whatever you may find it hard to concentrate. Also you don't get as much freedom as you might want because if you live out of state or out of the country it causes tax problems (and other kinds of redtape)for your employer (unless they are big enough to already have offices in that area).

    I liked i
  • Broadband (Score:4, Informative)

    by benjiboo (640195) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:12AM (#6075099)
    The biggest issue in the UK is the availability of broadband in rural areas. With a bit of luck, as more people want to take up teleworking, this might help smaller towns and villages reach the critical mass for telco installation of broadband to be cost effective....
  • by pubjames (468013) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:13AM (#6075103)

    It's really not difficult to set up your own company in the UK. Also, you don't have to live in the UK to be director of a company based in the UK.

    Having your own company gives you much more flexibility than just working for a single employer. It also gives you more flexibility with regards to how you pay your taxes.

    Where you live can be transparent to your clients - you can have a UK-based address with someone to answer and redirect your phone calls quite cheaply. Your clients don't necessarily need to know you're coding whilst sitting by the pool with a cool drink in the south of France or wherever. Go for it.
  • EU (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anime_Fan (636798)
    What barriers exist to working in the UK for a non-UK (e.g. US) employer.

    I don't know about being a US resident working in the US (it's outside the boundries of the European Community)...

    For the EU, there would be no problem in attaining a permit to work (it is after all the EU)... The one thing I'm unsure of is taxes (here in Sweden, you pax taxes to the municipality you live in (as opposed to the one you work in)... The employer on the other hand pays taxes based on where you work.

    I'm not really in t
  • by swordfishBob (536640) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:14AM (#6075112)
    I'm in Australia, and I telework 4 days a week. Actually, I telework about 6 days a week and turn up in the office on the other day, but have very flexible hours. I've also done some technical writing for a usa company. (free plug: www.devx.com) Situation: I got my setup as I have to provide after-hours remote support to our manufacturing sites during the production season (cotton harvest, March-July). Also, I do both development and network admin tasks, and cannot focus on the devt with all the interruptions in the office. Still being in place once a week does help the relations with other staff - even without realising it we tend to give people more credibility in person than remotely. "The office" is only half an hour away, but that's "the next town" - ie around here it's considered a hassle driving that long to get to work. otoh, half of "the office" (including my manager) is being relocated to another town 5 hours away. I got the option to choose, and chose to stay. Most didn't get an option, they were told. I started with a modem-router, then moved to ISDN, and now ADSL, which I've ramped up to the highest speed available here. (I do at times download huge fixpacks and tools under development subscriptsions with IBM and MS). Foreign Work I was approached via email to do some tech writing, by someone who observed my activity on a relevant newsgroup. I'm paid a flat rate per article of a certain size, in $US. (The jolly exchange rate movements have wiped 20% off my current invoice - dang!) This has worked fairly well, with an added bonus that I can write while my editor is asleep, giving next-day turnaround on minor edits. I have to declare the income as "other foreign income", ie it doesn't fit in any normal categories on the tax form. Actually the tax office wouldn't even know unless they audited my bank account records. Lifestyle Working from home with flexible hours has been great, as I have two young children. It meant I could be at home with #1 while my wife was in hospital with #2. It also means my wife can do part-time work. The lifestyle thing can go either way. There's the danger that you won't self motivate. There's also the risk that you end up spending every waking moment in front of the computer, working, feeling no other sense of identity. You can start in your pyjamas and forget to get dressed. (That's if it actually matters). It works for some. It doesn't work for others. Having a dedicated "work area" is essential, especially if anyone else lives in the house. It's then easy to define "I'm at work now" by which room you're in. Finding work It's just another arena for the same question - how do you find work at all? It can depend on contacts, on reputation, on spending time hunting or you might just fluke it like I did. It depends on managers' perceptions and requirements. Good Luck. I hope it works for you, but don't forget to go meet people sometimes :-)
  • out of London (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cally (10873) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:15AM (#6075114) Homepage
    I'm also in the UK, coincidentally about 90 mins from (central) London. Before I took this job I'd lived & worked in London for 8 years. I was/am amazed at the way everyone seems to accept spending hours a day sitting in car commuting. Give me trains any day - you can read, sleep, finish that last minute report... :)

    Some of my group are often on the road visiting clients (mostly doing firewall installs but also presales and other consultancy); personally I'm looking forward to the time I get myself some proper accomodation, work pay for broadband and I can do my (pentesting) work from home at least some of the time. That said, I'd go bonkers if I never came into the office at all.
    • you must have some ninja talents to be able to sleep and finish your last minute report standing up sniffing the arm-pits of everyone around you.
      • living IN London and commuting OUT means you always get a seat - in fact you often get a carriage for yourself. In a total of 9 months commuting first to Aylesbury, then to Maidstone from central London, ISTR the train was only late a couple of times - a very pleasant surprise, given the horror stories you hear.

        That said, my journey started at Brixton - end of the Victoria (tube) line, so again I was guaranteed a seat, so I might be biased there, too.
    • Give me trains any day - you can read, sleep, finish that last minute report...

      Now I'm a train buff, and I like trains...but...

      (Disclaimer: I don't live in the UK, only occasionally visit)
      It really depends on where you need to go on the trains. If you're going anywhere served by Connex trains it's pretty miserable for commuting. Although I like the old 4VEP EMUs that Connex run (from an enthusiast's point of view), they really suck hard when it comes to commuting. They are cramped, sweltering in the summ
  • by benjiboo (640195) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:19AM (#6075129)
    Do you think we'll ever see virtual software houses taking off, e.g. a bunch of developers all over the world who never meet in person, developing applications *and* actually making any money??

    It would be interesting to hear if open source developers think that this might work - I imagine it's a similar style of working albeit with different motivations....

  • If you can find a DSL connection and an employer who likes the idea, you should have no difficulty. On the other hand, US employers are rather leery of employing teleworkers in the UK. Two reasons--UK tax rules, and the fact that most US workers do not have a contract and most do in the UK.
  • Working from home (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schouwl (658811) <schouw@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:33AM (#6075185)
    Please thing of that you will become lonely and strange if you do that for longer time.

    Move to the city or find a job close to home.

    I am currently living in Tokyo a city that is 3 times bigger than London so I know what I am talking about for NOT commuting.
    It is "normal" for Japanese to commute 1 1/2 hours each way after working 12 hours here.

    Regards,
    Lars
  • Beware... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Friday May 30, 2003 @07:45AM (#6075220) Homepage

    If you can work from home, then you're proving to your employer that someone in Asia could work from their home for 1/5 your salary. There is a good chance you will ever find yourself unemployed as soon as it's "working really well for the company".

    The reality is your employer was simple beta testing its remote worker processes.

  • ... but I receive daily literally tons of e-mail offers about working at home, and for Real Money, That Really Works, you know?
  • Germany / Munich here (although I have worked in the UK and US as well)

    Technology and organisation are not the real problem - it's usually middle management and their fear of lossing control.

    I have been freelancing for many companies, who were all "capable" of supporting teleworking. But the decision was mostly based on how paranoid the middle management guys were. And if they felt "secure" and "empowered" to let go of their cubicle slaves.
  • I'm Doing This (Score:5, Informative)

    by esme (17526) on Friday May 30, 2003 @08:09AM (#6075299) Homepage
    I live in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) and telework as a programmer for a university in San Diego. My wife and I used to be there physically (she as a grad student, me as a regular employee). When she got a position at the U. of Sussex, we came and I kept my job.

    The benefits you mention really are great. Especially if you're used to being salaried and managing your own time and working without much guidance. It's very easy to get distracted by housework, spending time with the kids, surfing the net, etc.

    The only complaints I have are ones that other people have brought up: not being there physically has side effects. Other than email, the only contact I have with the office is a weekly 1-hour phone call, and a two or three day visit every six months or so. So I'm totally out of the office politics. My department used to be software-only, and recently got merged with the main IT department, so this can cause some stress. You can go in physically more often, so I'd suggest going in at least once every week or two to prevent this.

    The other side of not being there is the reduced personal interaction. I'm a total introvert, so I didn't think it would be an issue, but it still is. You need to make sure you get human contact and don't just withdraw into your cocoon.

    And one more thing -- expect the taxes to be really complicated if you work for a company in a different country. And expect both countries to be completely unhelpful when you're trying to figure anything out -- at least that's my experience. Just yesterday I had someone from the Centre for Non-Residents (e.g., UK expats) tell me they probably knew the answers to my questions, but wouldn't talk to me b/c I'm resident in the UK.

    -Esme

  • by Bazzargh (39195) on Friday May 30, 2003 @08:14AM (#6075322)
    You might want to look into the 2002 EU teleworking agreement. [eurofound.ie]
    This page has a reasonable description (skip down to the bit about the main points) although some of the links seem to be broken.

    The agreement is voluntary but lots of large companies do follow this. My own experience was that companies often prefer to have you work *part time* in the office rather than full time at home, to avoid the onus of a health and safety inspection of your house (I can't remember if this one is required under UK law, we have some regs which differ from the EU agreement). There are definite tax implications in the UK when you work from home, and you should allocate a room or an area in your house as your 'home office'. (the issue was, IIRC, that if the company provide you with furniture and/or equipment - as is often the case because of their health and safety duty of care - then this can be taxed as an additional benifit, unless you use it *exclusively* for work)

    If you belong to a professional organization or union they will almost certainly be able to provide you with better advice than anyone /. . If you are self-assessed for tax you definitely want to contact the DTI/Revenue or your accountant to make sure you're not going to get screwed for extra tax.

    You should also read this note [dti.gov.uk] on working outside of the UK.

    Disclaimer: IANAL, but I did serve as a union official 3 years or so ago, and dealt with a couple of teleworking cases.

    -Baz
  • by NibbleAbit (528568) on Friday May 30, 2003 @08:30AM (#6075447) Journal
    For 15 years now, I have hired nothing but 'work at home' programmers, both locally (in Canada) and abroad. Locally is definately easier. I spend 5 to 15 hours per week on the phone with programmers, all of them long distance, but at least in the same country. When I hired abroad, I found I was much more concious of phone costs, and conversations were much briefer. There is also the curency issue. We get paid in our local currency, and I don't like taking the exchange risk. It can quickly take a marginal profit (a project gone bad) to a loss.

    I have no problem trying overseas programmers again, but only for very well defined projects, and not where the client requirements are in the slightest bit fluid.

  • Visibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Builder (103701) on Friday May 30, 2003 @08:48AM (#6075570)
    There are a couple of downsides. If you're not visible, in the office and working, when the next round of redundancies roll around, your name will be high on the list

    Secondly, finding a company to let you do this is nearly impossible. I currently work from home about 1/3 of the time. I'm in the office 8 hours a day and then work from home 2 - 4 hours a day. The work I do at home is of the same quality that I perform in the office, but generally the same chunk of work takes less time at home due to fewer interruptions. Despite this, we are not allowed to work from home. Management will not allow it, despite having presented a fairly good business case.
  • by stevebrowne (307819) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:20AM (#6075815) Homepage
    As someone else has said, the best way is to start your own company and find your own clients. I know that can't be done in some cases, but if it's an option, then it should be taken with both hands.

    I've worked from home for the last 3 years or so, initially in London (New Malden) and now in Telford. It seemed mad to be living in an expensive London suburb when I didn't need to commute at all. And now we are out of the cramped London conditions, next to the countryside, with NO TRAFFIC JAMS!!!

    Again, being in IT, it's fairly easy to get everything you need installed at home. A clutch of PCs and servers, software, some kind of Internet connectivity, and a telephone.

    With a permanent Internet connection, IM helps you stay in touch, and to be honest I probably make more of an effort to chat when i see friends & family all over the world appear on my IM list. It'll be better if ADSL is actually going to make it to my local exchange...

    Telford is about 2.5 - 3 hrs from London, so not exactly a huge distance away, and my trips there (and to Reading) can take place up to 3 times a week without any problems - any more than that and it would be a bit tiring...

    But as someone else has said - if you have kids, it's great. My first child I was working a 1-1.5hr drive away. She was just getting up when I left, and just going to bed when I got back. She seemed to grow up really quickly. My second child, I was working only a 15 minute scooter ride away; I saw much more of her and could take part in more of the school related things. With child number 3, he has just hit 2 years old, and he has a strop when I have to go out for the day! He is so used to me being there, that when I'm not, his whole world gets shattered.

    The ability to pop out if needed, take a day off at short notice, and basically decide your own game plan is fantastic.

    And long may it continue, I hope...
  • by dynayellow (106690) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:40AM (#6076013)
    Then you won't have to take the train into London, which means that there will be no opportunities for someone to be murdered under baffling circumstances, only to be revealed that the secret Davis-Harkinson plans are somehow involved, leading to a deadly knife-fight on the roof of the club car in the dead of night.

    Is THAT what you want?
  • Teleworking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noidd (33487) on Friday May 30, 2003 @09:49AM (#6076108) Homepage
    Interesting thread.

    I wanted to work from home, none of my previous customers were happy with me doing it since they paid me per hour. Paying people per hour gave them this strange compulsion to actually have me on site so that I could see that I was actually working.

    I changed my relationships with my customers such that I now quote for "lumps of work" or "deliverables". They say "We want XYZ", I say "Thats £2.50". How I do it is none of their concern - how long it takes me, what I do in the intervening time is my business - not theirs.

    How do you sell that view?

    Advantages to Customer:
    1) Liability. When things go wrong, if the consultant is on a time-based contract then the bill to the customer is as long as it takes to fix the problem. Ie, open-ended liability. If things go wrong YOU get the bill. Goodbye IR35.
    2) Accountability. Once you have given the customer the comfort level they need that you can provide the services to them competantly, they are more than happy to outsource their non-core business functions out.
    3) Cost. If the customer insists on working you on T+M, provide an incentive. I have two rates, Rate A is for formal training and knowledge transfer or anything which is ON-SITE. Rate B is for anything else which is OFF-SITE.

    I'm not going to publish my rates here, but to give you an idea - my discounted rate (offsite) is 40% of my normal rate (on-site).

    This means that the customer saves 40% on his costs if he doesn't mandate my consultants being on-site.

    What does this mean for me now?

    Well, I've been working mainly from the home office for the best part of two years, my customer visits are on average two or three times a month.

    I have my green-card, I'm emigrating to the US on July 1st. What difference does this make to my customer? None at all. Does my customer mind? Not in the slightest. If they need me on site a few days consultancy easily covers travel expenses.

    My customer continues paying my UK company. My company continues paying UK taxes. I continue paying (some) UK taxes, and according to two Tax Attournies in the US I am exempt from US taxes.

    I don't believe them.

    Hope that gives you some ideas and food for thought.
  • by analog_line (465182) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:46AM (#6076698)
    As a UK-based IT worker living about a 90-minute journey from London

    So you live, what, 2 miles outside the city limits?

    Thank you, I'll be here all week, you're a great crowd.
  • by rnturn (11092) on Friday May 30, 2003 @10:47AM (#6076701)

    ...they are probably seeing this list of advantages/disadvantages like this:

    Advantages for me:

    • Save journey time of 3 hours per day (Not our problem)
    • Save travel expenses (Not our problem)
    • Save travel frustration (delays, crowds, mobile phone idiocy, etc.) (Not our problem)
    • Be fresh and alert when I start work (Not our problem. We expect that anyway.)
    • Feel better at the end of the working day (Not our problem)
    • Be at work promptly each day (Not our problem. Can't you just leave earlier? Obviously your estimate of 90 minutes was incorrect.)
    • Work in a pleasant/relaxed environment (Is there something wrong with your cubicle?)
    • Ready access to my (large) technical library (We hired you not your technical library. Besides, don't you have a back seat or trunk in which you could keep those books?)

    Advantages for my employer:

    • Cost savings (How?)
    • Office space savings (Not if I fire you and hire someone much cheaper who's in the office so I can watch over them.)
    • Improved productivity (Don't really care how much work per unit of time you are able to put out as long as the work gets done.)
    • Increased motivation (You want motivation? Be at your desk by 8:00 or you're fired. How's that for motivation?)

    Advantages for society:

    • Reduced traffic congestion (Congestion? Hmm. I've never heard my driver complain about any congestion.)
    • Reduction in total travel and therefore pollution (How does this make money for the company? Besides you must have missed the memo about car-pooling. Now your commute is 2-1/2 hours... each way.)

    There are a number of disadvantages and factors to consider, though none should be insurmountable. A couple might be:

    • Employer needs to monitor quantity and quality of work performed (And we cannot even begin to explain to you how important this is to managers.)
    • Internet connectivity (mine currently limited to 56Kb) (That's funny. We've had excellent connectivity since the company provided those T1 lines.)

    So if you're having trouble getting approval to work from home. You might be running into these attitudes.

    Have a nice day!

  • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:32AM (#6083144) Homepage

    If you'd like to do independent consulting from home, you might want to try out KEEN at the UK site [keen.co.uk] or the US site [keen.com]. This site allows people with questions to get connected with you for help, and you get paid. I have no association with the site other than someone showed it to me a couple weeks ago.

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