Today is the start of a new adventure. "Big Bank" decided a while ago that they needed to cut expenses and began to move ahead with plans to allow staff to telecommute 3 days per week (potentially expanding to 4 or even 5 days in the future). By having employees work less than half of their time in the office there is the ability to share physical office workspace. My management is looking to lead the way, so while we don't have all the answer's in place regarding technology solutions and what expenses are covered, we're forging ahead and will work out the bugs as we go and share them with those who follow us.
Over the past week I've been sanitizing my office space, removing pictures and mementos of past accomplishments, as well as personal technology enhancements. I've gotten everything that I will need day to day into my "road warrior" bag. Any reference documents I need are either on the corporate network or on my laptop in an effort to go paperless. The process of cleaning out my cubicle did have some psychological impact. I've always regarded many of the people I work with as a sort of extended family. Eights hours or more a day in the office results in a certain amount of loyalty and trust between staff and managers and face to face communication has been an important part of building those relationships. Packing up felt a bit like moving out and leaving family behind. It will be interesting to see what the impact of working remotely is on the relationship with both my staff and my management.
At the moment we are working on a buddy system where I'll have a dedicated space that I share with someone whose schedule complements mine. I'll be working Mondays and Thursdays in my dedicated office space and and the rest of the time from somewhere else, for the time being that means from my house. Management hasn't yet determined the appropriate technology solution so at the moment we are using our own PCs as I/O devices to connect to a remote access solution. Combined with a software package that lets me talk to our phone switch and manage/redirect my extension I can work from anyplace I have connectivity and a phone.
I'm perhaps a little better equipped than some of my compatriots since I have a personal laptop equipped with wireless. Coupled with my cell phone this means I can work from the house, the library, or even the local Starbucks. Since I can use my cell phone as a modem for my laptop its possible that by using Skype's In and Out services (my phone won't allow simultaneous voice and data service) I could even work from anyplace I can get a cell signal.
Although I've infrequently worked remotely for a day or so this new paradigm will require a number of changes on my part. Tomorrow is the first "official" day from an alternate location so stay tuned.