First it was Bank of America. Then Yahoo. And just this week, Comverse.
What I’m talking about, of course, is the recent spat of major corporations banning the practice of telecommuting. No longer are employees from the above mentioned companies allowed to work from home.
I could wax eloquent on the many virtues of telecommuting, including:

  • Healthier environment since fewer commuters clog the highways with their polluting cars
  • Stronger economy – especially if your country operates a trade deficit in imported oil
  • Less overhead. As the employer, you spend less money on electricity, equipment, (on-site) insurance, cleaning, and maintenance
  • Happier employees. This is one of the biggest advantages of all (which I’m sure Comverse and Yahoo will soon learn the hard way)
  • Better productivity

It’s simply stunning that IT firms who pride themselves on flexibility and technological achievement would implement such a policy. Imagine if Yahoo only allowed users to consume its content when they were logged in at specific locations.
Absurd really.
But this post isn’t about the missteps of Yahoo or Comverse. I’m sure a lot of thinking went into their decisions and they have their reasons (I hope).
No. This post is simply an opportunity for me to thank the stars that our own QA testing tools do not (and could not) ever adhere to a strictly “work-at-the-office” model. It simply wouldn’t work – neither in the development of these tools here at Testuff nor in their use (wherever you may be right now).
Let me explain.

Why Our QA Testing Tools Do Not Subscribe to the Office-Only Lifestyle

The reason we “don’t” ban working at home is because of you the user.
The very nature of SaaS testing has flexibility woven in. To require location-specific access is anathema to everything that software-as-a-service stands for.
You can read about some of the virtues here, but in a nutshell, SaaS allows you to safely and securely login anywhere – at anytime.

  • Your client’s offices
  • In a meeting at a 3rd party integrator
  • Your home
  • Your summer home in the Cape…

If the office works for you, so be it. But we’ve designed our QA testing tools so that the office is not mandatory. To do otherwise would anger a lot of customers.

Why Our QA Testing Tools Cannot Subscribe to the Office-Only Lifestyle

The needs of our users are paramount. In fact, we’ve even changed course based on customer feedback. So we take your needs and desires very seriously.
But for strictly selfish reasons, our suite of SaaS testing tools could not thrive under Yahoo’s policies simply because servicing the diverse needs of customers across the globe is not an undertaking conducive to the 9-5, location-specific mentality.
Flexibility is essential to our business model, and we necessarily discard the notion of “location.” In fact, when people ask me where we’re based, my usual response is “on the internet.” A bit coy, perhaps, but 100% undeniably true.

Effective QA Software Testing Tools Require Teamwork – Not Proximity

If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you already understand the value we place on teamwork. Having everyone on the same page with the same vision is critical to success.
Physical proximity, however, is increasingly less important.
While team members should keep in touch as often as necessary, technology has evolved enough to make face-to-face interactions less and less crucial. At Testuff, we routinely rely on:

  • Skype and Google Chat/Video
  • Email
  • SMS and IM
  • Phone

These tools suffice for much of the interactions necessary to produce high quality SaaS tools for users like you. I recall our first years – we could not have started Testuff and finance it without taking this approach.
Very occasionally, the Testuff team needs to meet face-to-face, either in-house or off-site. But you’d be surprised how infrequent these meetings are. It does serve a purpose, and great ideas come out of such meetings. Not to mention the good social reasons – a chance to reconnect, if you will. So, we’re not against it, just thinking there’s the right formula for how to conduct it best.
So I wish Yahoo, Converse, Bank of America, and their respective office-tethered employees all the success in the world. But rest assured, we will never deprive you, ourselves, or anyone else the right to work whenever or wherever.