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For tech staffers, working remotely requires more than Wi-Fi and a desk

Fred O'Connor | June 7, 2012
Web services, VoIP and other technology may have turned any place with an Internet connection into an office and decreased the importance of an IT professional's location, but a range of factors contribute to how enterprise telecommuting policies are developed and who should untether from the traditional workplace, said IT executives and staffing professionals.

"In a distributed environment it needs to be more structured," said partner, developer and company co-founder Mark Valenti. "Things run a lot smoother once you have those kinds of pieces in place rather than call me when you need me."

The decision to operate virtually was part of the 3-year-old company's initial philosophy for many reasons, said Valenti. Being a startup, the business wanted to avoid the costs involved with operating an office. And determining where to locate an office would prove challenging since Valenti and the company's other co-founder want to live in different states.

"Aydus is a core of four," he said. "That's two in Montana, two in California. It just simply doesn't make any sense at the end of the day [to have an office]," he said.

A virtual office fits with a company that works in the Web space where physical interactions are not required to complete tasks "so why not have an organization that matches the technology that we're working in," explained Valenti. "Amazon is primarily online and they're not talking about setting up big Amazon department stores. We're the same. We're not talking about setting up a big Aydus office."

To complete projects Aydus uses Web services like Dropbox to store files and Evernote to share notes. A service provider handles the company's server needs and employee hardware purchases are reimbursed annually, Valenti said.

"Software is just so virtual," Valenti said. "Its just about getting the work done and being there for clients when they need us. It doesn't really matter if you work from midnight through 6 a.m. and then sleep. More often than no, people are very positive about being remote."

Aydus' distributed work model has so far worked for projects, he said. The business has yet to find a project or issue that working remotely cannot address, he said. Telecommuting has also proved popular with the staff and only one person expressed concern at telecommuting since he lacked a good home office, Valenti said.

Job duties help determine if telecommuting is right for a certain position, said Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis. Development jobs lend themselves to remote work as long as the employees complete projects on time and are easily reachable, he said.

"With development there's not this normal 9-to-5 work mindset," he said. "A lot of these people like to work late at night. They work at the hours that are most conducive to them."

Expect to be working in an office if your job requires managing hardware, Cullen said.

"For infrastructure-related work, you've got to be onsite," he said. "Offsite [work] does allow itself much more on the application development side and very rarely on the infrastructure side."


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