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Telecommuting DBAs


Telecommuting DBAs

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sushila
sushila
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sarur/telecommutingdbas.asp







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Sushila,

Nice job. This topic has been kicked around quite a bit at my workplace over the past several years. Unfortunately, executive management feels like they can't control us if they can't see us, and so far has a strict prohibition on working from home. This is a shame I think, and I believe they would see an increase in productivity from us if they changed their policy. I would estimate that if permitted, I could work from home at least 2 to 3 days per week with no negative impact on my projects. It's unfortunate that we've gone from a project based to a task based workforce and I put the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of upper management.

Computer World recently published their annual 'Top 100 Places to Work in IT' (my comany wasn't in there ) and they found that the top three concerns of IT workers were training, technology, and flexible scheduling.

Recently my group was asked to send feed back regarding an employee survey held last year and one of my team mates sent the following example in an effort to promote telecommuting and flex scheduling:

Quote:

"This is the Federal Government's plan (my mother works for EPA) :

25% of staff have off every other Friday
25% of staff have off every other Monday
25% of staff have off every other Friday (next weekend)
25% of staff have off every other Monday (next weekend)

Everyone works 8 nine-hour days, 1 eight-hour day per two-week period.

Benefits -

-10% decrease in commuting time/costs
-Fewer cars on the road
-Less fuel consumed
-Very little impact to company -Fewer unscheduled personal leave days
-Every other weekend is a 3-day weekend
-Abililty to focus without interruption on project-oriented work

Potential benefits of telecommuting -


-Fewer PC's needed - equipment could be shared by I.S. employees who telecommute at different times
-Less cubicle/parking garage space needed
-With VONAGE VOIP residential phone service, long-distance and phone-forwarding costs disappear
-Dramatically lower gasoline/automobile/Insurance costs, saving employees thousands of dollars per year"

All are interesting points and potential benefits. And many of these same benefits could be realized if employees were permitted to work from home. Yet management still doesn't get it. Hopefully articles like yours and the positive impacts on companies that have implemented telecommuting will make others eventually see the light.



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Dave Poole
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Brilliant!!

The downsides to telecommuting are that you become the invisible employee (See Steve's editorial 21st June 2005) and there is less emotional baggage in firing/downsizing an invisible employee.

There is definitely a social aspect to work. Although I can and do work alone for protracted periods of time I also enjoy bouncing ideas off my colleagues as a way of problem solving. This is something that would be lost if a telecomuted.

The gas/petrol thing is something huge. In the UK petrol is now over £4 / gallon and during a commute I can expect 30mpg. Cost per mile of running a vehicle is £0.45 so more than £10K (US$18K) is swallowed up in commuting. The UK government wants to introduce charge per mile tax of £1.34 for rush hour so personal transport is going to become VERY expensive.

I am not in the position of having a home office and with 3 small kids I would say that the chances of my getting one any time soon is effectively nil. If I could install a wireless network in my garden shed next to my home brew then all would be well

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ant2001
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I have been telecommuting for over a year now and totally agree with all the comments in the article.

One of the other benifits not mentioned in the article is flexible hours. Being a production DBA I have to apply patches and other fixes outside of normal working hours. Being able to do this at home is a lot easier than having to struggle into the office overnight.



Kelly McDonald
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Great article. I have been telecommuting as a DBA for almost 3 years now. It is so wonderful. Like this morning - I woke up early at 5:15 and started working. It allows me more time with my kids becuase I don't have the commute time of 1 hour each way. I also have to do many tasks in the evenings and telecommuting allows me to do that and not resent have to work additional hours. Our telecommuters probably put in 10 hours a week more than our employees that don't telecommute. I get so much more done at my home office. We do go into the office for 2 days a week (minimum of 10 hours) which keeps us somewhat from being invisible. To me - it is the best of both worlds.

PS - you asked about the areas - I live in Tulsa, OK which is for the most part very conservative. We too were suprised when we got to telecommute. It was initialy due to a limited amount of office space and they were needing offices. We did it on a trial basis and paved the way for other departments. Now we have multiple departments telecommuting.


Kathi Kellenberger
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When I took this job I was told I would be able to telecommute a few days each month. Well, they say to get everything in writing... Actually, I do work from home a lot, but it is after I have already worked at the office all day, to implement changes that can not be implemented during production hours. I also work right next to two very loud managers who are on speakerphone, cussing, and making weird sinus noises all day. It is very hard to concentrate. I really love my job, but it would be so much better to be able to avoid the office at least one day a week.

Kathi



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kpsqlcent
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I have been teleworking fulltime as a DBA for 6 years based in the north of England (UK). I would never willingly work in an office again. It doesn't work for every one though, a colleague who was initially very happy teleworking found he no longer liked the set up after a couple of years. He said he felt isolated. For me, the only slight disadvantage is that it remains tempting to work too many hours. A lot depends on the culture of the organisation and your immediate team. Teleworking was encouraged by my employer and is now no longer seen as out of the ordinary. I am in regular contact with colleagues via the phone, Emails and IM. IM makes a big difference. As others have said when you have to work anti-social hours, doing it from home makes it less onerous.

Being able to work flexible hours is great but I only use this occaisonally as I found I needed to maintain the seperation between work and home. I typically work regular hours. I have a room set aside as my "office" and when I close the door behind me I know I've left "the office" behind.

I am no longer on call 24/7 so I don't answer my business phone out of normal hours. Having a seperate business line is a distinct advantage. I wouldn't work from home without one.





arrowdrive
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My fear in askig for telecomuting is the following: If I can do my job from home, then why can't they just let a dba in India do my job? If I am not in the office, does it make a difference where "my" job is located?





einman33
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Is there any fear of being less involved in the decesion making process as a tele? It always seems in a conference call the discussions after the call is usually where decesions are made. I cannot let networking toss all of my mdf and ldf on the c:\ drive while I am not there to smack them around.
Adrian Payne-206938
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I have been a telecommuting DBA for the past 8 years, employed by a New York based firm while living/working in Orlando Florida and I am very grateful to have had this opportunity. As a few people have mentioned, there are a few negatives to working from home, the most notable being the feeling of isolation at times. But this can be minimized if a schedule of weekly status meetings and a Team approach to handling issues is adhered too. Good communication with coworkers and clients has been the key for me personally. Instant messaging is invaluable.

Many of the positives have already been mentioned so I wouldn’t go into them but I wanted to reiterate that for me personally the positives have out weighed the negatives many times over.

I think telecommuting is a wonderful thing whose time has come. If done correctly, with the appropriate checks and balances in place, it can be a win-win for employer and employee. I believe that companies that are slow to implement some form of telecommuting as a policy, with eventually loose their best and brightest in the years to come.


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