Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Working from home

According to an article in Journal of Applied Psychology it is beneficial both for individuals and companies to arrange for telecommuting.

As a occasional telecommuter i agree that being able to work from home once in a while has positive effects for my personal well being and probably also for my employer.

The authors conclude with the statement that:
there is a downside of higher intensity
telecommuting in that it does seem to send
coworker (but not supervisor) relationships
in a harmful direction. Some of the
complexities of these consequences have
yet to be explored, but the evidence and
theory reviewed here suggest that they can
be managed effectively through informed human
resources policies.

Certain software development methodologies (like XP) rely on close interaction with both colleagues and customers. If you are supposed to do pair programming it will not work if the other person is working from home. Perhaps in the future someone will figure out a tool with which pair programming will be possible over distance, who knows.

A practical way would be to ensure that people still meet often enough for the necessary exchange and feedback too occur and adopt for example some instant messaging tools, although a tool can not replace the real thing.

The study does not directly compare what type of work you do and what kind of feedback mechanisms there are in the workplace or what tools you have access to. I would however guess that as long as the feedback keeps coming it is possible to be as efficient from home as anyone in the office.