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Summary:

AT&T, largest phone company tells its workers: get back to the cubicles. For a company that sells broadband (and indirectly promotes Web Work), this is a decidedly backward looking move.

Despite years of studies showing that telecommuting is a win-win for employees and employers, AT&T is shrinking its telecommuting program:

AT&T, a company that once was a poster child for telecommuting, is downsizing its long-running telework program and requiring thousands of employees who work from their homes and other virtual offices to return to traditional AT&T office environments, according to sources.

If only this lack of commitment to remote work were a relic of the past!

One commenter on the Network World article reporting on AT&T’s declining commitment to telework says this may be due to the old-school attitude of one executive:

I suspect what has happened is that these people have moved under John Stankey, who now is president of the telephone operations. He doesn’t like remote workers and is probably demanding that people under him come into the office.

This attitude is not at all uncommon in business today. The vast majority of office jobs are still on-site jobs and telecommuting arrangements are often reserved only for the most persuasive rather than offered to anyone disciplined and effective enough to make remote work succeed.

  1. I don’t think working onsite is a bad move, sometimes it does help boosting the productivity and kick off healthy conversations between co-workers, raising new ideas and solving issues cooperatively.
    Alas, not everyone is forged to work remotely, it takes a great deal of discipline.

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  2. I think managing virtual offices is a bit difficult than most would agree. Cutting cost and network security could be reasons for the changes… ‘I’ and ‘myself’ believe that we have great tools on the web that can be integrated in the web workplace… to make telecommuting fun and enjoyable.

    Web workers are a people that embrace technology and want to stay in touch with friends on G-talk responsibly, check that Flickr account, check Myspace, listen to some music streamed online or Facebook… whatever it is that drives the curiosity to keep exploring the big library of information out there that is called the World Wide Web while staying productive… And not to be isolated in a cubicle with an I-pod for eight hours doing the same function repetitively.

    Gotomeeting.com(www.gotomeeting.com)is one great such service that allows web conferencing, This makes it easy for the web worker to join in trainings and interact with the trainers and co-workers via voice(www.skype.com) or text chat using an array of instant messengers available in the Age of Social Networking… I am sure with more web/video conferencing tools, secure networks and social networking business approach… Web workers need not to worry.

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