Teleworking - still a pipe dream?

13 Nov 2012
Description

Do you need to show your face at work? Adam Turner discusses teleworking in The Age.

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It's National Teleworking Week. Don't feel bad if it snuck up on you this year, as it's actually Australia's first National Teleworking Week. It's not like it's an ancient pagan festival, but more like a week made up by people trying to push agendas and sell stuff. You know how it is.

Teleworking is more relevant for "information workers" -- a fancy term for people who don't actually break a sweat or get their hands dirty. Anyway, teleworking has always been up there with androids and flying cars as one of those great futuristic promises which never seems to arrive. Chances are your job requires you to turn up every day and do something that can't be done from afar. Otherwise they would have replaced you by now with an android or maybe a trained monkey. If showing your face is fundamental to your job, chances are teleworking isn't going to change your life any time soon.

Teleworking is more relevant for "information workers" -- a fancy term for people who don't actually break a sweat or get their hands dirty. If your job involves furrowing your brow and bashing away at a keyboard then teleworking might be relevant to you. Of course the countless teleworking reports tend to be written by information workers, who tell us that teleworking is going to change the world because they forget they're in a minority and that most people actually work for a living.

They're the same people who write reports recommending that businesses replace people with androids or trained monkeys. Come the revolution, they'll be the first against the wall. Advertisement I really shouldn't pick on information workers too much, because I am one. My keyboards is my workplace. I'd say the biggest hurdle to teleworking today isn't the technology. There are plenty of remote access and collaboration tools, plus mobile and fixed-line internet access is always improving. The spread of the NBN and LTE will make it easier than ever to work remotely over the internet.

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2012
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