All of this is made possible by the fact that Heaton's job "is fairly nonsensitive to immediate crises." He works for a Silicon Valley manufacturer of computer security products, writing instructional tutorials, help files, and technical manuals. "The deadline for me to deliver is usually three months, and during that time there isn't a need for a lot of contact," he explains. So, some days he works like a maniac. And other days he goes fishing - or to the museum in Bilbao.
Much of Heaton's interaction during the product documentation cycle
is actually with other telecommuters. "There's a guy in New Jersey I've worked with for five years, although we've never 'met' - he's an engineer who develops products that I document. I talk to him on the phone maybe twice a week and by e-mail once a day." Although most of the employees of his firm work at the home office, he explains, "the job market in the Bay Area is competitive, and letting people telecommute is good business."