I’ve been working from home for three different companies since 2005. I love working from home. Not having to get up every day and commute into an office in order to get my job done is a wonderful thing. I consider myself fortunate that my role affords me the opportunity to work out of my house.
Current technologies such as e-mail, the internet, virtual private networks (VPNs), web-based meetings, conference calling, instant messaging, and, of course, my ever-present BlackBerry, make working productively from virtually anywhere a snap.
Of course, in the world of business and commerce, it is necessary to have a name that is more formal and business-like than simply “working from home.” Some companies refer to working from home as telecommuting. Other companies embrace business-speak terms for their home-based workers such as remote employee or virtual employee. Regardless of what you label it, as long as I can continue to work from home, telecommute, be remote, or be virtual, I’m good.
Last week my boss sent e-mail to his team, all of whom work out of their homes, with instructions to go to our company’s employee portal and complete the homeshoring application. Homeshoring? What the hell is that?
I’m familiar with the terms “offshoring,” which is sending jobs overseas to places like India, and “nearshoring,” which is sending jobs to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Missisippi. Oh wait, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, Mississippi is still part of the U.S., so sending jobs there technically doesn’t qualify as nearshoring. More like hellshoring.
I’ve even heard some companies use the term “rightshoring” as a way of explaining how they will provide resources, whether onshore, offshore, or nearshore, as needed to get the job done in the most cost effective but highest quality way. Some marketing executive probably got a big bonus check for coming up with that catchy buzzword.
So what is homeshoring? Quite simply, according to website netlingo.com, homeshoring is when an employee regularly works out of his or her home instead of the office. The term homeshoring is a derivative of the word offshoring, and involves the transfer, primarily of service industry jobs, to electronically-connected home-based employees, or essentially turning office jobs into work-at-home jobs.
The word homeshoring, then, is just another label for telecommuting, working remotely, or working virtually, all of which are fully synonymous with working from home. Seriously, how many different terms do we really need to describe working from home? Don’t we need at least one more? How about “home-officing”?
So even though I’ve been working from home for years, I now have to complete this damn homeshoring application. I also have to certify that my home office is ergonomically configured, which, for the most part, it is, and that my office equipment, both company-issued and personally supplied, meets the standards set my employer.
This all seems kind of silly to me, and, being the cynic that I am, I started wondering if this was a ploy by my employer to decline the homeshoring applications and require most employees who had been “virtual” to revert to being “physical.”
Fortunately, my boss, who also homeshores, reassured me that the company is not intent on having its current homeshored employees return to working in one of the company’s facilities. He explained that it’s all about accounting, expense control, and reporting.
The motivation (i.e., hammer) for us to complete and submit the homeshoring application is that, until approved, the company will sit on our expense reports for recurring home office expenses, such as the phone, internet connectivity, and necessary office supplies.
Okay, please excuse me. I am now highly hammered, albeit still fully clothed, and need to complete my homeshoring application.