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What are the disadvantages of making telecommuting mandatory?

Telecommuting is a great option for the right job, the right person, and the right manager - but if it's forced on everyone, some (by definition) just won't do well and in the long run I think the company will pay the price.

Some people argue that this is no different than when a company decides to relocate its offices or transfer an individual employee. The employees affected have a choice to make: make the move or go elsewhere.

There are two reasons why I think this comparison breaks down, however: first, we know that more and more employees are rejecting relocation requests, and getting away with it. Second, when a company relocates its offices, the employees might dislike it but at least they are still working in a traditional office setting. But if the relocation is to the employee's home, that's an alternative that most employees wouldn't consider to be within the range of a normal employer decision.

All this may change over time, but for now I think it's generally a bad idea to make telecommuting a requirement. Not only will the employees have problems with it , but the managers aren't all likely to do well with it either.

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