Welcome to the Telecommuting in India mini wiki at Scratchpad!
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Objective of this wiki
This wiki captures information about telecommuting in India. The wiki was originally created to capture the discussions from a session in a barcamp organized at MindTree on 15th December, 2007 as part of their annual techfest called Osmosis. The wiki is organized around challenges faced by everyone involved in telecommuting. The challenges are listed below. Each challenge can then become its own wiki page and potential technology / process / culture solutions be outlined on the challenge pages. We have also listed a set of technologies generally used to enable telecommuting today and plan to expand the list. Please contribute your ideas here and lets make telecommuting in India a reality.
The goal of this wiki is the following:
Build a future where physical work location (home or office or park or beach) has negligible impact on personal, team or organization productivity.
Why is telecommuting worth it?
- Traffic problems: Employees in Indian cities are spending anywhere between 30 minutes to 120 minutes each way in traffic that is highly chaotic. The air on the roads is very polluted and poses very serious health hazards. The accident rate is quite high.
- Time Saving: 1 hour each way = 2 hours a day = 10 hours a week = 500 hours a year. At 16 waking hours in a day, this is equivalent to 30+ days worth of waking hours in a year. This time could be used to:
- Exercise and stay fit
- Spend time with family
- Pursue hobbies
- Achieve more at your job
- Learn new skills
- Experiment with your original ideas
- Comfort: Home is definitely more spacious and comfortable than an office cubicle
- Competitive advantage: In India's current competitive landscape for recruiting, the ability to offer telecommuting options to employees could be the USP that pulls employees in. Furthermore, companies might be able to recruit in locations where they do not have elaborate offices setup.
- Global Warming: Vehicle exhaust is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases. (controversial??). The effects of global warming have been widely studied and debated. This is one way to reduce your carbon footprint.
What are the challenges faced by telecommuters today?
- Speaking on the phone is never the same as speaking face-to-face
- My internet connection at home is not reliable
- As a developer…my home computer is not powerful enough to host both an IDE and a database
- My company provides me only email access but not VPN access
- I love using the whiteboard. How can I ever get that efficiency in design sessions when all we have is IM and phone?
- I don’t know if my team is working or not if I cannot physically see them
- I cant walk over to a developer to show him a bug
- I cant easily take help from other developers
- I love to joke around while working
- When I work from home, my family is more angry at me….casue I am not “there” even when I am “there”
- Why should I pay for the internet connection and the PC when it is the company’s work getting done?
- How can we guarantee data security and protect IP when everything is accessible from home?
- I love playing table tennis with my colleagues
- I love having lunch with my colleagues
- If I have to be on the phone all day, I will surely injure myself in some way
- I like dressing up and going to work (how will I do that at home?)
- Who will be responsible for virus protection?
- What happens if the employee has a work related injury while working from home? Who is liable?
- How can I show an empty office to clients when they visit?
- If I just stay at home, I will grow fatter than I already am
- The cost of telecommuting infrastructure is too high. I cannot make my business viable with that kind of a cost
- How do I know that my employee isnt working for some other company part time?
- I do not have a quiet enough workspace at home. When my kids see me at home, they will not leave me alone. The doorbell rings too many times when I am trying to work
- Distinction between work and home will blur. I will end up being away from my family even more. My boss will expect me to work 24 hours since all the infrastructure exists.
What are the technologies in use to enable telecommuters?
- Speaker Phones
- VOIP (Skype, Google Talk)
- Conferencing facilities on the phone
- Viewlets (Screen capture technology)
- Instant Messaging
- Wikis / Blogs
- Livemeeting / Webex / NetMeeting / VNC
- Remote Desktop
- Virtual Private Networks
- Broadband internet access (cable modems, DSL, WiMAX)
- Tablet PCs
- Graphic tablets
- Video conferencing software (some bundled into other collaboration suites)
- Remote Desktop configuration / management (SMS?)
- Server virtualization (VMWare)
- Google documents (live collaboration capability in google spreadsheets)
- File Share softwares (sharepoint, knowledgeTree)
What kinds of technologies are potential enablers of telecommuting in the future?
- Second Life
- Multi-touch interfaces (iPhone)
- Wii Game console controllers
- Availability of 8MBbps broadband connection in India for homes (Airtel made an announcement recently)
Best sites to know about the mobile technology
Companies promoting telecommuting in India
Aan Informatics Private Limited www.aansoft.com
Sai BPO Services Limited (SBL http://www.saibposervices.com/