I’ve telecommuted for about half of my jobs in college. Sometimes I have a single client; sometimes I am working for a company; sometimes I need to connect with a group I usually see in person. But in every instance, I run into the same problems:
- Technical failures which make me sounds like Darth Vadar and make my ability to contribute to the meeting nearly null.
- Personal-connectivity failures where colleagues have trouble attaching my digital presence to their understandings of the group, and so either decline to give me work or are confused about my role.
- Timing failures where a group which primarily communicates offline does so, and then has to recap for me.
All of these problems have to do with communication, which is really the only thing which makes telecommuting functional. Though I enjoy being able to work wherever I am, I am coming to the firm commitment that wherever I am, I need to see the faces, shake the hands of, and understand the body-language of the people I work with on a regular basis.
Here’s hoping that becomes a possibility.
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”–Herman Melville