TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Bell System Photo by Ansel Adams

Re: Bell System Photo by Ansel Adams
13 Apr 2006 07:31:52 -0700

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Not only are there no more offices open
> to the public, but many office staffs are being outsourced to India
> and/or Hong Kong and the Phillipine Islands. They can hire their help
> a lot cheaper in those places. Telco, like many other large corporations
> prefers to hide behind the anonymity of the telephone. That topic is
> worth a discussion on its own merits I think. PAT]

The NYT just had an article describing call centers that handle fast
food pickup windows. Apparently some outlets contract out the order
taking to a remote call center rather than just have a staff member in
the restaurant take your order. The NYT's piece said it shaved a few
seconds off each order processing and justified the cost. These call
centers were still in the U.S., but maybe a thousand miles away from
the restaurant.

Some time ago a US Post Office employee told me they would have people
sorting mail at home. The letters would go along a conveyor belt and
a camera would flash the address to a person at home. The person
would then key in the address and the machine would sort the letter.
This is certainly technically feasible but I don't know if it came to
pass. The P.O. is heavy into opscan, and most mail pieces are

Other organizations are having people work at home as a "call center".

I have mixed feelings about people working out of the house. On the
one hand, it gives employment opportunities to many who might not
otherwise have it, such as new mothers or the handicapped and that is
important. But on the other hand, it reminds of me of the early 1900s
when families took in work, such as sewing, in order to survive and
had to work very long hours. In other words, instead of this being an
opportunity for workers, it may turn out to be a burden for
workers -- people may be _forced_ to do stuff at home.

Indeed, one of the downsides of cellphones and high speed PC
connections is that many workers no longer are "away" from work.
They're on call 24/7 because they can be reached and respond via the
PC. Before PCs/cell phones such people would be left alone because it
was too hard to have them come in off hours (except for a critical

I was in the bank and the rep had to call their help desk for
assistance. The help agent was working out of her house and actually
wasn't that helpful because her baby was screaming -- I could hear it
sitting across the desk.

[public replies, please]

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The Chicago Main Post Office (430 West
Van Buren) moved much of their operation out of town; much of their
'sorting room' facility is now (or was) in one of the western suburbs
instead of right downtown where it had been for years. Apparently the
problems of thievery were too much for them to deal with, and I
assume they figured they could find more honest employees (although
perhaps less diverse, racially) in one of the suburbs. PAT]

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