Telecommuting on the Job

Q: I'm trying to negotiate a telecommuting arrangement with my employers. How do I convince them?

- Mandigo, Makati City

A: A common refrain from some management skeptics who are aping the dinosaurs, and often repeated by armchair executives state that telecommuting will not succeed in the Philippines because Filipino workers can't be trusted when they are out of the office.

I disagree. In the first place, trust is not a major issue in telecommuting. We can allow telecommuting when its benefits to the organization far outweigh the cost of implementation. Let me explain through another consultant.

Florence Stone, author of the book The High-Value Manager (American Management Association, 1995) wrote that we should "see telecommuting not as a benefit but as a solution to a business problem: that problem is the growing cost of office space combined with the difficulty in finding highly-qualified staff who are affordable on a full-time basis.

"Where telecommuting is a cost-effective solution, then it is a viable option, and successful managers adapt their office situation to it."

Ascertain also, whether the work you are about to take on can be effectively accomplished through telecommuting. You may suggest ways by which quality control can be monitored by your superiors: maximize the various communications available to you. And be prepared to prove that telecommuting is cost-effective to both you and your employer.

R.A.H. Elbo is the managing advisor of Kairos Management Technologies and acting president of Kaizen Institute of the Philippines, both consulting and training companies.

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