Oodles have been said and written about the benefits of hiring telecommuters or people who WAH (Work At Home).
What gets swept under the carpet is the WAAAAH in WAH.
As someone who works at home, I will commit professional suicide (make that two WAAAAHs) and reveal the biggest downside of hiring people like me.
We are incapable of saying the right things.
It's not as though we don't want to say what's right. We just don't know the right words. Spending as long as we have away from meetings and workshops has made our corporate jargon skills as obsolete as hardbound dictionaries.
At a meeting for example, if a client spits out a question about B2B, we won't waffle impressively about comparisons with B2C. We can't. We're more likely to jump into making inadvertently embarrassing statements about Hamlet quotes or pencil types.
When we agree with something, we'll say yup. Or at a stretch, yes. Never the infinitely more effective "I resonate with that" or "I am aligned with your thinking".
If you suggest in a crowded room that we take something offline, we are likely to respond by diving under the table to yank off the internet cable. And when asked to park a thought, we'll helpfully offer to send our drivers over.
Be warned that keeping us out of meetings is not a solution. Our corridor conversations are just as bad (challenging as they have been referred to by one of you). When people ask us to give them a shout, our vocal cords swell obligingly to the proportions of bull frogs in heat. When asked to give a tinkle, er... let's not even go there. Let it suffice to say that when you promise to touch base, our response is preceded by a nervous gulp and surreptitious look at your bottoms.
So if you want to hire us, do so for what we're good at.
We're good at our work and we know all about books, movies and eating/drinking places. What do you think we do with the time and money we save on fuel?
We're tops at email communication, because where there's email, there's google. We can then search for what you mean when you use terms like conversation threads and win-win.
But if you want someone who sounds as exotic as a foreign film without subtitles to lesser mortals, we're not it.
You see, we ARE the lesser mortals in question now.
2 years ago