Work It: A telecommuting drama in two parts
by Mike Pihlman
Jul 26, 2013 | 2936 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print

"Boss, I feel I could contribute more to the team if I did not have to drive five hours per day to the office.

"I’d like to give telecommuting a try. I hear it is beneficial for both the employee and the employer."

"Oh, you just want to goof off and play."

"When have you known me to goof off? Just think how much more productive I can be if I start work at 5 a.m. instead of sitting in traffic — or on the train — if only once or twice a week.

"I will have more energy and I will feel better about my job, again making me more productive. And I will be close to my family if they need me — which they do."

"But I’m an old-fashioned boss getting ready to retire. My employees need to be watched constantly for them to get work done."

"Yeah, on their farms. Tell you what, why not give it a try? It is really easy."

"I’m old and tired and set in my ways — did you say easy? Now that sounds like the level of effort I like."

"Here is the deal, Boss: On my next project, give me the goals of the project, give me your timeline, then let me work where and when I please — be it here in the office, at home, at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble or our local coworking location. At the end of the timeline, if you are not happy with the results, I will continue to drive five hours per day, to work on my farm and try to get some work done."

"OK, I really do not care about your life and your problems or the amount of money you spend on gas or how much time you spend in traffic or how much your family needs you. But I’m old (or I lead Yahoo) and I just want the easy way out.

"Here is the project. I want it done in two months. Go do it."

About two months later

"Wow — you finished ahead of schedule, and it is excellent! We communicated well, we used Skype so I could see the ‘whites of your eyes’ when needed, and all I had to do was sit back and wait for retirement.

"Here is your next project."

"Costa Rica, here I come!"

Mike Pihlman has been a Tracy resident since 1985. He co-wrote the first telecommuting plan at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1990, and he practices what he preaches at AltamontCowork in Tracy. Contact him at

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