This is why I telecommute….

….so I never get to the point at which I am driven to behave like this:

One day soon, people will look back at videos like this one and wonder in astonishment that people in the past had to go to a place to work! That there used to be such a thing as the office! And that people wasted time, energy and polluting materials in order to get there! And that there was such a thing as a mental division between ‘Work’ and ‘Life’! And that people traveled short distances every day instead of long trips every now and then, just to see the world… Increased mobility (in physical and cyber space) allows us to control our movement better – and decrease it by eliminating unnecessary driving around.

13 responses to “This is why I telecommute….

  1. I find that if I leave after 9:00 I usually have a quick, effortless trip. If I leave at 7:00, it can be Hell. A good compromise is to leave at 10:00.

  2. Only closers get coffee!

  3. I’ve always been happiest when I could walk or bicycle to work. Last week I was discussing with another equestrian friend about how wonderful it would be to ride our horses to work, and then a few days later, I saw a brief news clip about three high school students who did indeed ride their horses to school one day. I think they lived in rural Montana.
    I would be over the moon, if that were a safe and reasonable thing to do, though with everyone using equine transportation, the manure would rapidly become a serious problem. One of the pubs, near the riding school I frequented in London, had a corral that served as a parking lot for horses, for those out for a hack in Epping Forest who wanted to nip in for a quick pint. I thought that was awesome!

  4. Horses take skill. 150 years ago, when everyone used horses, most of the poor animals were abused by idiots and had to be “fixed” by “professional” trainers who also often used rough methods. As much as I love horses and like the idea of riding around everywhere, I’d hate to see them become a mode of transportation of choice – most people would have no idea how to train them, take care of them, ride them, and will thus produce unhappy, suffering and dangerous animals. And unlike drunken whip-happy jerks of yore, the new horses would become dangerous because they would be treated by well-meaning people as if they were cats or poodles, with no respect for their size, power and strange psychology. Perhaps if one could only ride with a riding license that is really hard to get….

  5. If I get the job at Brown University I’ll be a five minute walk and a 15 minute bus ride from the office.

  6. IIRC there was a sort of licensing for equestrian activities in and around Epping Forest, and penalties and fines for dangerous riding, “speeding” (over a hand canter), and riding off designated bridle paths. Many polo and polocrosse clubs and tournaments have rules about riding under the influence, though these are rarely enforced-obviously, a drunk or high individual is a danger to everyone on (and around) the field.
    Horses wouldn’t be a viable transportation option for everyone, probably not even for most people, at least in US culture. I think we have lost a lot in our ability and knowledge to work with and care for animals, compared to, for example, my great-grandfather’s generation (he farmed with Clydesdale horses, well into his 90s). Horseback transportation can be pretty dangerous too-Victorian literature is full of characters who are killed, or seriously injured, in riding accidents, and that probably reflects the prevalence of such mishaps. I used to think the whole “horse rears or spooks at coiled rattlesnake and dumps rider” thing was ridiculously Bonanza-esque, until I nearly had the same thing happen to myself…fortunately I managed to stay on.

  7. Well, I wouldn’t get too excited about completely removing the division between work and life… that has actually been more of a problem than a goal, I think. I know it’s been a problem for me, and I’ve been telecommuting for 6 years now.
    For the foreseeable future, there will still be a separation between “work” (where your actions are useful to your employer) and “non-work” (such as grocery shopping, chatting with family, various forms of entertainment, etc.)… even when those things happen at the same time.
    Definitely, the line is blurring as people make important decisions from taxicabs on the way to the movies (on their crackberries), and as they burn hours at “work” shopping on the internet… but this is generally a bad thing. Most work includes expectations of performance that cause some level of stress. If you can leave work and put that aside, that stressor goes away. If you *can’t* — and you’ll be more likely to accept the emails & calls after hours if you’re wasting significant time during working hours… then that stress never goes away. You can’t ever relax. What do you do when you’re reading your kid a bedtime story and new messages keeps dinging at you from the other room? Can you relax? If there’s a “disaster” in progress at work, is it your concern 24/7?
    There are also, of course, all of the jobs that cannot be telecommuted to, yet — all of the physical infrastructure must be maintained! — but someday we may have robotic reps to handle that. 🙂

  8. For scientists, at least (and especially high energy particle physicists) I can’t imagine it will ever be more cost effective to work from home. 😛

  9. Back when we used horses, and had a lot fewer people, you can get an idea of the problem we’d have. In NYC in 1880 they had to haul 15,000 dead horses off the streets; you can imagine the amount of manure, which was a problem to pick up and when not promptly picked up either dried and pulverised or got wade and even messier.

  10. For scientists, at least (and especially high energy particle physicists) I can’t imagine it will ever be more cost effective to work from home.
    For some scientists, no, but it seems to me that high energy particle physicists would be one group that could fairly easily. You’d need some techs to run the big stuff and the data is sent to wherever. After all, they don’t carry those particles from the big-ass ring over to the workbench to see what happened, do they? They look at the data on computers; why do those computers have to be in the vicinity of the big-ass ring?

  11. Luna_the_cat

    Perhaps, while you are at it, you could explain how those who work in restaurants, mining, refining & manufacturing, farms and food processing, factories, garages, warehouses, brick-and-mortar stores, childcare facilities and creches, hospitals, healthcare centers and pharmacies, and transportation and infrastructure (to name a few) could “work from home”…and why this would be desireable?
    And, why on earth would most of these people want to remove a division between their work and non-work activities?
    The danger of working in an office environment, is that you start to suffer from the illusion that “most people are like you”.

  12. Yes, that is why in the comment on that post (the first link), I wrote “…unless it is a factory or something that requires people to work on a particular geographic spot…”.

  13. Apparently, the video was a fake, but I am one of the rare people, it seems, who understood the video as intended, understanding the reasons why the guy freaked out, not so much worrying about him being dangerous to others. Tell something about cultural differences, I guess.