Telecommuting: Crossing the Threshold to Work, Part 4

Part 4: Telecommute!!

This article was published in the Tracy Press

Gas is nearly $4.00 a gallon. Traffic is horrendous. Now is the perfect time to start telecommuting.

You probably have all the technology you need: A telephone, a computer with all the required applications, and Internet connectivity. In the old days, putting all this together was difficult. Not anymore. Now everyone can be fully connected 24×7.

The options for telecommute locations have also expanded. In the old days, you worked at home. Period. Now you can work from home, the airport, the train, a hotel, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, McDonalds, or from a TeleWork Center (which Tracy does not have..….yet). Cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging (IM), email, and the availability of WiFi hot spots make staying connected a snap.

In addition, advanced applications are now available that allow you to communicate with your remote colleagues as easy as if you were in the same physical location.

You can share your computer, give a presentation, or work interactively on any document, drawing, or program with products and services such as WebEx (www.webex.com), Glance (www.glance.net), GoToMeeting (www.gotomeeting.com). There are many more but I need to keep this article within 500 words. J I have used Glance and WebEx (and evaluated WebEx on my YeOldeTechy Blog). They are great.

If your boss is an OFB (old fashioned boss) and wants to “see the whites of your eyes”, you can videoconference. Free videoconferencing is available….. all you need is a web cam. ooVoo is one such service (www.ooVoo.com) that allows you to meet with several of your colleagues, exchange files, and chat via IM. See the picture of yours truly talking with friends in Chicago and Paris.

Other, standards-based (H.323 over the Internet), videoconferencing (VC) products for your desktop or laptop computer include Mirial Softphone (www.mirial.com ) and Polycom PVX (www.polycom.com) . I have tested videoconferencing from McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, and Starbucks. It works great! Of course there are more advanced (and expensive) VC products for your home or office (using your DSL or cable Internet connection) from vendors such as Polycom, Tandberg (www.tandbergusa.com), Lifesize (www.lifesize.com ), and, the ubiquitous, Cisco (www.cisco.com). No more excuses that if you are not seen you are not working….now you can be seen.

The old concept of TeleWork Centers in your neighborhood never took off. However, modern versions of this concept are popping up. These centers provide (for a low monthly fee) WiFi access, videoconferencing, a conference room, and casual (or more formal) work areas for the commuter who wants to spend a day or two a week closer to home. You may need a group to meet and work. Rather than everyone meeting at Starbucks, a TeleWork Center may make more sense.

The world is changing. Save gas, save money, save time, save the environment. Stay connected and see your colleagues and boss (make sure they are working too!)….telecommute.

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One comment

  1. I enjoyed the article and am pleased that the idea of work centers has not been thrown out completely. I believe centers are critical to more rapid adoption of video conferencing in everyday, cross-metro work environments (not just Paris to Chicago). Unfortunately new approaches just don’t happen. I am looking for those individuals and organizations that sense multi-location approaches are the next area to demonstrate. The initiative can be viewed at http://www.pocketsnet.com.

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