Telecommuting as an Employee Benefit

When we offer employees the chance to work from home, they usually love it.  It’s become a perk for working with us – and it’s easy to set up.  There are a variety of ways to work with telecommuting employees, but I like videoconferencing the best.  It’s great to be able to see someone when you’re working with them.  There are two videoconferencing tools we use, iChat and Skype.  Some people feel iChat has better quality video but I prefer Skype.  The audio quality is so far superior it out weighs any minimal difference in video.  Bob O’Haver, my partner/husband here in the Berkshires has spent hours on end working virtually side by side with an associate in the LA area via Skype.  I admit it can take time to get used to being on camera, but after a while you forget it’s even on.  Be careful though…  forgetting you’re on camera can be embarrassing!  If you prefer, you can always make the video one way – so you can see them but they can’t see you.  I’ve also found the mute button to be a saving grace. 🙂 Continue reading “Telecommuting as an Employee Benefit”

The Five Biggest Mistakes in Telecommuting

FlexPath recently put out a listed of the five biggest mistakes individuals make in telecommuting.  Having been both a telecommuter and employer of telecommuters, I thought it was useful.  Here is FlexPath’s Five Biggest Mistakes in Telecommuting (in bold) with my perspective thrown in afterwards:

1. Neglect to set boundaries for themselves regarding work and personal responsibilities. I still find this quite challenging, even now after years of telecommuting.  Here’s what works for me (sometimes):

  • Have at least one work-dedicated phone line installed;
  • Set up a room or area that is exclusively for work;
  • Set a time when you ‘go home’ after which you don’t answer the phone or continue working (yeah, good luck with that!).

Continue reading “The Five Biggest Mistakes in Telecommuting”

Solar Power: From Simple to Sophisticated

My neighbor just put up one of those old fashioned clothes lines.  It seemed a bit of an eye sore when I first saw it there, the metal pole holding up a spiderweb-like array in the middle of her lawn.  "The dryer uses a lot of electricity," she explained.  Her simple use of the sun made a lot of sense.  I briefly considered getting one myself – but I knew I’d have trouble actually using it.   Her sheets waving like flags were a salute to the ‘good old days’ when technology was simpler… and perhaps in some ways smarter.  I just read an interesting article on Dailytech.com about the potential use of the sun’s energy (besides solar powered web hosting, of course!).  A group of MIT students have created a solar array that can melt steel! Check it out:

MIT Students Develop Revolutionary Solar Dish That is Hot Enough to Melt Steel

 The solar industry is booming.  With waves of investment and grants, the solar power industry is for the first time becoming a serious business.  New power plants will soon be pumping power out to consumers, while other firms market to sell panels directly to the consumer, providing them with a more direct means of experiencing solar energy.

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There are many forms of solar power technology.  Today the most dominant is photo-voltaics, which comprise the traditional solar panels that come to mind when one thinks of solar power.  However, there are other promising ways of capturing the sun’s energy that are merely less developed. Continue reading “Solar Power: From Simple to Sophisticated”

Tools for Telecommuting

Telecommunting is on the rise for various reasons.  Gas prices, environmental issues, and the affordability of virtual office tools to name a few. I’m constantly on Skype or iChat (two video conferencing tools).  Last week I spent four days in California… virtually.  I literally had Skype on 8 – 10 hours each day, working closely with my employees in Los Angeles.  It took them an hour or so to get comfortable having my ‘Max Headroom’ like presence on the computer screen in the room, but after the initial transition period, it worked surprisingly well.   We could talk in real time, with no annoying delays, and work virtually side by side.  Continue reading “Tools for Telecommuting”

Green Data Centers On The Rise

According to a recent article in Computerworld (see below), high energy costs will force more and more data centers to go green.  When investigating green data centers for our own company, we found many that used renewable energy credits.  After extensive research we found a 100% solar powered data center that creates no pollution what so ever.  No pollution means no need for credits.   And, we’re happy to report, it has a 99.9% up time guarantee.  Green web hosting can be great web hosting.

Pressure to build green data centers will intensify, say IT execs

Energy crunch could spark higher demand

April 9, 2008 (Computerworld) ORLANDO — Rising energy costs and the need to consolidate IT infrastructure will force business managers to re-evaluate data retention policies and learn how much power every device in their data center consumes, said IT executives today on a panel at Computerworld‘s Storage Networking World conference.

The executives said that while social responsibility and proposed regulatory pressures to build more environmentally friendly data centers are grabbing all the headlines, the real impetus to "go green" is a mandate by many organizations to trim present and future costs by understanding how data is used, stored and accessed within an IT environment…..read more.