Out on a Limb: Telecommuting From a Tree

Known colloquially as MOOF, Microsoft’s Mobile Out Of Office is literally going out on a limb to show companies that workers like the idea of telecommuting.

The company built a tree-house office in a park in London, and the software giants message is that corporate decisions dont always need to be dictated within the confines of four walls and harsh fluorescent lighting.

In the United Kingdom, Microsoft research shows that nine out of 10 British workers desire an out-of-office setting — with 75% saying this flexibility is a huge factor in deciding whether to accept a new job opportunity.

It is expected that by 2012, the United Kingdom will have over 5.5 million remote workers.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released American Community Service analysis shows that approximately 4% of Americans worked from home in 2005.

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This is despite a Korn/Ferry survey of 1,320 executives showing that 61% believe telecommuters are less likely to be promoted, compared to their on-site colleagues.

The Census Bureau report shows the cities with the highest rates of home-based workers include Austin, Texas (5%); Colorado Springs, Colorado (5%); Portland, Oregon (5.3%); San Francisco (6.3%); and Seattle (5.1%).

(The Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act to prohibit states from taxing non-residents on the income they earn at home is one piece of pending legislation that might remove obstacles to the growth of interstate telework.)

Although the short-lived stint in the tree has ended (the tree-house office was recently dismantled), your company can still champion the MOOF movement. To read more about users’ MOOF-ing experiences, the blog www.moof.mobi offers advice, questions, and feedback.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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2 Comments on “Out on a Limb: Telecommuting From a Tree

  1. Elaine,

    As usual, you wrote a great article about my favorite subject….working remotely! I have had the pleasure of working with a few companies in San Francisco, from my home office in Northeast Florida and LOVE IT! The W-2 contracts with these companies are few and hard to find, so I tend to have many downtimes (like now), but I manage to do some side work and hold out for the next good one! And for the record, I gladly pay the CA income taxes, while working from Florida. It would be nice if more members would chime in on this subject and respond to this article.

    Happy 4th of July!
    Brenda
    bl934@msn.com

  2. I LOVE this article because it hits close to home for me. I’ve spent the last several years working remotely and I love it. I don’t ever see myself going back to working onsite full time. This article gives validation that some companies make the right decision in allowing remote workers. It’s a must to remain globally competitive. When I see companies adamantly insist they will not hire someone unless they are onsite, it shows inflexibility and antiquated ideas. This is a global society making great strides in technology every day. I won’t name the company, but I spoke with a major company that deals with all of their customers REMOTELY, who said they would never hire someone to WORK remotely. I thought it was unfortunate and hypocritical. I as well as others have gone through great expense and time outfitting home offices with state of the art equipment to allow for remote working. I don’t see what the big deal is as long as you have productive workers. To those companies who promote remote work, kudos to you! And way to go Microsoft for showing us the way things can be done. 🙂

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