What is Telecommuting?

Deborah Ng

Telecommuting, also known as teleworking, is the act of working from a remote location, usually one's home. This is made simple with the use of various telecommunications technologies such as a telephone, fax machine and the internet. Many telecommuters are also set up with web conferencing capabilities, allowing them to sit in on office meetings via modem and webcam, or at the very least, a conference call.

Telecommuting means working from a remote location.
Telecommuting means working from a remote location.

In most cases, telecommuting equipment is provided by the company, though it's up to the teleworker to provide an office space free of distraction. For the worker, the benefits are many. Most enjoy the flexibility of working their own hours, at their own pace, as long as all deadlines are met. There's also the ability to work in one's pajamas or take breaks as needed at attend to personal family matters. Money is saved on expenses such as commuting, lunch or snacks, clothing, and daycare.

Some telecommuting jobs may require the use of a headset to speak with clients.
Some telecommuting jobs may require the use of a headset to speak with clients.

The flip side to this is the lack of camaraderie; telecommuting can be rather lonely. By missing out on the office gossip and small company meetings, the worker can also miss out on vital pieces of information. Even though most people enjoy working without a micromanaging supervisor looking over their shoulders, they also admit it's difficult for them to get a proper review when their employers can't see them on a day-to-day basis. It's difficult to stand out in an organization or be a team player when you're not there everyday.

Some telecommuters can work while their children are home, saving money on daycare expenses.
Some telecommuters can work while their children are home, saving money on daycare expenses.

Telecommuting not only enables an employee the convenience of working at home, it also allows the employer to save money on certain overhead expenses such as utilities. In addition, since telecommuters are happier, they're often more productive; they may spend more time working than their office working counterparts who tend to spend more time on lunch breaks or chit-chatting around the coffee maker. Absenteeism is less common because sick workers still work at home, and they put in longer hours because they never leave their office.

Telecommuters are able to avoid the office politics that cause stress for many traditional employees.
Telecommuters are able to avoid the office politics that cause stress for many traditional employees.

If you're easily distracted or like to procrastinate, telecommuting may not be a good choice for you. If you're self-motivated and don't need constant supervision, it can provide an excellent opportunity. If you have a proven record with your organization, you're a good candidate for this type of job. If you have a reputation for slacking off, however, it would probably be unwise to approach your employer about working from home.

A telecommuter can work from any location at which internet access is available.
A telecommuter can work from any location at which internet access is available.

There's usually no harm in approaching your employer about working from home. Research the pros and cons and be prepared to sell yourself. Just leave out the part about working in your pajamas.

People who telecommute can continue to work while traveling.
People who telecommute can continue to work while traveling.
Telecommuting might be an ideal work setup for new parents.
Telecommuting might be an ideal work setup for new parents.
People who telecommute enjoy the benefits of working in a less stressful environment.
People who telecommute enjoy the benefits of working in a less stressful environment.
Telecommuting work may be ideal for college students who have to schedule a job around their classes.
Telecommuting work may be ideal for college students who have to schedule a job around their classes.
Telecommuting helps workers save on the expense and time of commuting.
Telecommuting helps workers save on the expense and time of commuting.
Parents who telecommute for work can more easily take care of sick children.
Parents who telecommute for work can more easily take care of sick children.

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Discussion Comments

anon304687

Very interesting article. Telecommuting has really changed the workforce today. What has been trending is “outsourcing” and this will even grow in the next coming years since local talents may not be qualified enough for a position - I think.

Another reason is the budget. Businessmen would rather outsource the job rather than hiring a high-paying staff. These are facts that would somehow change the workforce, maybe next year or soon.

I hope there’s still a way to manage an employee who telecommutes.

GreenWeaver

Subway11- Telecommuting jobs are much easier to find now than ten years ago when I first stayed home with my daughter.

At that time very few companies offered this type of employment arrangement.

A lot of companies are now looking to hire remote or telecommuting workers because it is cheaper and they are often more productive. Those are real telecommuting advantages for the company.

subway11

Bhutan-The telecommuting policy for a company like that is that you maintain a quiet working environment with the proper technical requirements.

The use of a wireless network is prohibited because of the lack of security that their client’s networks might be exposed to.

The connection has to be hard wired in order to successfully work for any of these companies that offer customer service support. I also know that each client offers training and a certification period in which those that pass the process actually get hired on as independent contractors.

Bhutan

Sunny27 - I know that a friend of mine worked with a company and her telecommuting work involved chat support for a major wireless provider.

She was able to secure this telecommute work by passing a basic customer service training module online along with a background check. After she completed her customer service module, she was then able to apply for various client training classes.

The best telecommuting benefits really come from the fact that she gets paid to take calls from her home for various clients and is able to pick up her children at school with out the use of a nanny or extra child care expenses. However, my friend's company requires that those interested pay for their training, while other companies do not.

Sunny27

Telecommuting employment has many advantages. Often your schedule is very flexible and if your child gets sick you can take care of your child without having to take time off from work.

Usually your working hours are the hours that you set as long as you get your work done. Some telecommuting jobs require phone work while others don’t.

Companies offer opportunities for telecommuting work to service their clients via phone.

With some you are able to select the hours that you want to work in half hour intervals.

Each client specifies what hours they need assistance for and what the contract requirements are. For example, most retail clients require support on the weekends and will specify a minimum requirement of hours worked for the weekend. You can swap hours with someone else, but you have to make your contract requirements.

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