Thursday, February 15, 2007

Working at home

Way back when Al Gore first invented the internet, planners worried that, if we were all connected virtually, masses would move into the wilderness perpetuating sprawl development, increasing travel times and infrastructure costs, and eating up agricultural and natural land with housing.

The result has been the opposite: people now telecommute from their homes, friend's homes, cafes, and parks in cities throughout the world. However, a study released last month found a new obstacle to working where you already are: professional success. A survey of 1300 executives world-wide found that people who telecommute are less likely to be promoted.

It’s an issue of good management. If employees are judged by how much their bosses like them, then telecommuting will be disincentivized. If employees are judged by productivity, then telecommuters will thrive. I’m not sure if it’s related, but most jobs in my field of multimodal transportation planning require a valid driver’s license and a car. There's something in the popular consciousness that equates automobility with professionalism, and it has got to stop!

LA Times: Telecommuters may go nowhere -- careerwise

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