Do you telecommute?

Asheville is reportedly becoming a mecca for telecommuters — those workers who labor away from their office connected by phone, fax, Internet, Blackberry and the like. With the enormous expansion of broadband in WNC, telecommuting is even feasible in other much smaller and secluded burgs in our region.

Telecommuters in Asheville and the surrounding area may work for companies or clients in Charlotte or other cities around the region, or even across the nation or across the globe.

Quality of life is one reason why telecommuters are moving here — and technology (especially the explosion of regional low-cost broadband) is what is making the phenomenon possible. And, thanks to wi-fi, telecommuters are even escaping their home offices for local establishments where they can alternately work and socialize, thus escaping the seclusion that plagues many remote workers.

For an upcoming special technology issue, Xpress will be looking at telecommuting and the technology behind it. So if you’re one of those lucky folks, tell us a little bit about your work and home life: the technology you use, why you came here, the work you do and for whom, the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting, your tips for would-be telecommuters, and whatever else strikes you as pertinent to the topic based on your experiences. Based on what you tell us, you may be contacted for more information, or your comments to this post may be used in our upcoming article, which comes out very soon (so don’t delay).

So get out of those pajamas, put on a fresh pot of coffee and speak up now.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer


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5 thoughts on “Do you telecommute?

  1. Frogette

    I telecommute from my home in Arden, working for an accounting firm in Florida. It has been wonderful, it gives me the flexibility I need. I was diagnosed with cancer in December and telecommuting allowed me to work throughout my treatments. Had I worked in a traditional environment, I wouldn’t have been able to work as much.

    There are disadvantages too, but the advantages make it worth it.

    The technology I use is an internet connection, a desktop and a scanner. It is that easy!

  2. fortunesmiled

    My family and I moved here about three years ago from the D.C. area. I was able to keep my job with a small consulting firm in D.C. and work from home. The quality of life is why we moved. It was the best decision our family could have made. The down side is that I do travel at least half the month for at least half the year. I wish Asheville had video conferencing facilities, so maybe in the future I could go there and ‘see’ my clients, rather than having to travel to them. I’m “at work” as soon as I sign onto IM and my coworkers reach me generally through IM. I haven’t yet tried to take my laptop downtown–mainly because I’m also usually on conference calls all day. I’m glad you’ll be writing about it b/c I do think it’s a trend for this area. I have many friends who telecommute and moved here from big cities.

  3. WorkingFromHomeIsDepressing

    I have been telecommuting since my husband moved us here four years ago. I use a laptop and cable modem and work for a software company in Atlanta.

    I would love to know what local establishments you are referring to where remotes go to work – and I hope you aren’t going to list a bunch of coffee houses.

    Sure, I can get my laundry done during the day and my commute is a step over the dog. But I can’t leave my work place to go home and relax and I miss working with other people. The longer I work from home, the more I want to quit working from home. If taking a local job didn’t mean a huge pay cut I would have quit long ago.

  4. Hi there,

    My wife and I both live here and telecommute. I’ve telecommuted for about 2 1/2 years, and my wife has been doing it for about a year now.

    I work for a Red Hat, software company based in Raleigh. I’m a software developer there. I started telecommuting when we were JBoss, based in Atlanta, then we got bought by Red Hat and I kept telecommuting. My wife works for a eye ware company (don’t know if I can mention their name).

    The first few months were a difficult adjustment for me, but my wife made it easily. I wrote some comments about it on life hacker before (tips for working from home), I’ll past them here at the bottom. I went through a period where it got difficult working from home, I was working way too much and not ever leaving the house. Lesson learned. :)

    The pros are obvious, increased productivity, like not having to take time off for stuff like vet visits when you can just make up the hours at a different time in the day, NO traffic at all, etc.

    The cons are a little more difficult to find until you’ve been doing it for a while. Like working way too much, no separation of work and home life unless you make it happen, isolation, etc. Sometimes we have to travel into “the office” for a week or so at a time.

    The technology we use is pretty much the same for both of us. I use a lot of IRC and IM, email, cell phone, and Elluminate, an online web app like WebEx. My wife uses the phone, and a lotus app that has internal IM capabilities (same time) as well as email.

    We both travel into the office about once a month or so, give or take.

    We’d love to follow up more with you, please feel free to contact us. fmerenda [at]

    Here’s some of the stuff I posted at LifeHacker about trying to keep a balanced life when working from home:
    (article at:

    Here’s some of the stuff I have done over the past 2 1/2 years of telecommuting:

    1 – work out every morning. Yes, EVERY morning. This makes a huge difference. Walk, treadmill, Ellipse and Bowflex (what I do), whatever. just do SOMETHING. Every day.
    2 – have a dedicated space for work, ideally a whole room
    3 – while you are in the “office” there’s no distractions allowed. If my wife needs me or I need her, we IM each other, just like at a normal job
    4 – when out of the “office” space, you can talk socially. i.e. my wife also telecommutes. when we are taking a break, and are both away from our computers, we can talk, etc. just like a normal water cooler type of thingy.
    5 – take lunch away from your “office”. Even eating in the kitchen. Stay away from the computer!
    6 – try to set work hours. For me that used to be work 4-5 hours, break for lunch, work another 4-5 hours. Then STOP. Unless we had a software release coming up soon, then all bets are off. :)
    6.5 – The above points all revolve around the same theme – separate work and home life as much as possible.
    7 – get outside. try to get outside every day for at least 10 minutes. Preferably more. Go stand in the sun! This makes a big difference, even though it may not seem like it would.
    8 – get out of the house and see other people. My wife and I have “dates” every friday night where we go out for soy cheese pizza and beer (I love Asheville!). We also sometimes go out Sunday mornings for brunch. Even just walking around Asheville is healthy, both mentally and physically.

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