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A Contrarian View of Telecommuting

TelecommutingMany quality of life advocates cite telecommuting as a solution to improve employees' work life balance (see prior post here). This article published on eGov Monitor (based in London) takes the position that the work life benefits of telecommuting are exaggerated and that the option is unlikely ever to be a prospect for the majority of workers. The article further claims that many of the studies on telecommuting artificially swell the numbers of teleworkers by including self-employed people who use a home-based computer and telephone as part of their regular work routine.

Indeed, to some extent, the article argues, telecommuting may actually harm work life balance and increase "workaholism" for workers without a clear routine that delineates work from home life.

Readers - please feel free to chime in with comments - does your law firm allow telecommuting? What do you see as the pros and cons of lawyer telecommuting?

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I have to disagree. I have found since moving my law office to my home, I am able to spend more time with my family. I can pick the hours I want to work and not the firm. I can adjust my schedule in the office to make time to be with family.

Grant - hi, saw your comment. I think you'd fall within the category of "self-employed" workers where the article agreed that telecommuting is a boon. The question is whether it works for the average attorney (or any individual) who remains an employee of a law firm or other organization. I happen to think it is still something that should be encouraged if the logistics and parameters are worked out, but the article makes some good points to the contrary.

One of the biggest disadvantages to telecommuting is that if your job can truly be done from "anywhere", then it's probably cheaper to have it done in India or China by someone making a fraction of a US worker's salary.

Only in licensed professions like law do we have protection against foreign competition (though I believe that many functions will be offshored that don't require a law license).

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