Is telecommuting for you

What is Telecommuting and What it can Offer You?

Does your current job take away too much of your time that you could spend with friends and family? Leaving such a job and finding something that offers a better balance between personal life and work is not always possible right away and it may take awhile to find a good arrangement. Fortunately, there is an option which allows us to stay at our current job and still be with our family while at work and it is called telecommuting.

Telecommuting allows you to work from a remote location, such as your home, a hotel room or some other place outside the traditional office. All you need is a working computer or laptop and an employer willing to work with you under such an arrangement.

What are the Advantages of Telecommuting?

There are several advantages of telecommuting:

  1. You’ll spend more time with family
  2. You don’t have to spend time in traffic
  3. More suitable for a handicapped person

The first advantage of telecommuting is pretty obvious – it will allow you to spend more time with your family. This is great for single parents, who don’t have anyone to leave their kids with. Parent couples can also take advantage of telecommuting if they don’t want to put them in day care for whatever reason and if you have a sick or an elderly family member to take care of, than working from home is also a better choice than going to work every day.

Telecommuting also means you will be spending less time in traffic. This is especially helpful in big cities where there are often traffic jams and you might spend precious time honking in your car and worrying what your boss might say for being an hour late for work. Instead, you could do away with driving to work, save on gas and spend that time more wisely than sitting in your car and listening to radio.

Finally, telecommuting also offers an opportunity to a person with a physical disability to work and be productive. Even today, many jobs are not easily accessible to persons with disability and working from home can solve that problem.

What are the Disadvantages of Telecommuting?

Telecommuting is not for everyone

Of course, this is not to say that telecommuting is always a great choice. There are some disadvantages of it that you need to take into account. These are:

  1. Distractions
  2. Constant need to self-motivate
  3. Isolation

Although telecommuting allows you to spend more time at home and with your family, sometimes there might be more distractions at home than at an office, preventing you to concentrate on your work. For example, a crying baby, a barking dog or a phone ringing are all just some of the distractions you could do without.

Speaking of distractions, for some people it is just too easy to get distracted or to motivate themselves. If you’re person that takes a long time to get out of bed and even longer to start your work day, then maybe it’s better for you to consider a regular office job, where you can be more productive.

Finally, telecommuting can cause you to feel isolated. If that’s the case,  you can try joining a coworking space, which allows a bit more flexibility than a regular office job, but a better work routine than working from home.

Who Should Telecommute?

Whether you can telecommute or not depends mostly on the type of job you have. For example, if you’re a manager of a sales team, then telecommuting might be beneficial to both of you. By overseeing them from your home office, rather than from a regular office save time for you and them. Not only you don’t have to drive to work just to get their reports by the end of the day, but they don’t have to either and can send them when they’re done with everything via email.

A good way telecommuting can save money for your company is by having your call center or sales people answer calls or call leads from their own home. Keep in mind that this can drive up their phone bill, so many won’t be keen to make this arrangement, so be sure to offer them a good incentive. Also, you will need a way to monitor their work, so it’s important to research what technology can help you do this.

Freelancers, or independent contractors are another good candidate to be telecommuters. If your work is such that it allows you to be independent and doesn’t require being face-to-face with your employer all the time, telecommuting or working from home is for you.

Finally, depending on the type of manager you are, telecommuting can also work in your favour, just keep in mind that some of your team members might need a little more hands-on approach which you can’t achieve by working from home. Also, your employers might prefer you to to be around.

Who Should Not Telecommute?

Telecommuting, is not for everyone. I already mentioned the problems people who have difficulty motivating themselves can have if they telecommute, or how isolation can affect a person. In many cases, being around and interacting with other people can bring out the best in you.

Also, as I mentioned, some managers need to be able to see their staff on a regular basis. A lot of time this is the case with either a new manager, who has just taken over a team and want to get to know it. Another case where telecommuting doesn’t work for managers is when they have a new team member and they need to get to know them.

Finally, company culture might prevent telecommuting from being established effectively. In some companies email or Skype communication just doesn’t work that well.

What do you think about telecommuting? Is it something you would do or do you prefer working in an office? Let me know in the comments below.

Vladimir Covic
covic.v1ad@gmail.com
26 Comments
  • Red Riding Hood
    Posted at 06:49h, 15 May Reply

    It’ s called working from home ☺

  • Mishelle Milne
    Posted at 21:13h, 12 May Reply

    I have recently had surgery on my hip and have been out of work for nearly two years from a fractured pelvis and osteoarthritis, I had considered telecommuting as it would fit my needs very well. I am still recovering and find it impossible to find a job that can work around my disability, so a home based job would work for me. I did try and apply for such jobs online but had no luck. I didn’t really get an answer why, which is rather annoying, but I will keep trying.

  • Mercy
    Posted at 13:42h, 12 May Reply

    It’s interesting how telecommuting is becoming more accepted in some workplaces now. I had wanted to introduce it at one of my previous jobs about five years ago but most people were not open to the idea, as they were more used to person to person interaction for work. Access to the right technology certainly makes a difference.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 13:45h, 12 May Reply

      Absolutely, technology has changed our lives (for the better) so much in the last 10 years or even less.

  • Chibuzor Aguwa
    Posted at 13:03h, 12 May Reply

    The advantages of telecommuting cannot be overemphasised. I am benefiting from it myself.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 13:44h, 12 May Reply

      Glad we agree on this, Chibuzor.

  • Basundhara Ghosh
    Posted at 10:58h, 12 May Reply

    Well yes, if you think having an office environment is not that crucial for work, then why not? I would love to try it sometime 🙂

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 11:04h, 12 May Reply

      Exactly, Basundhara. And a lot of time it isn’t crucial and you can easily to it at home or at a coffee shop. So why not?

  • Lolita Davis
    Posted at 21:19h, 10 May Reply

    Al though I have never tele-communicated from an actual paying job, I have enjoyed the best of both worlds in working outside the home and inside as a freelance author. There are advantages to both. Some miss the human-to-human contact while others enjoy the serenity of staying at home (if there aren’t too many kids to look after).

  • nida
    Posted at 20:49h, 10 May Reply

    So as a mother i love work from home.. and specially with the newborns or a single parents.. But still i think it took more at time working from home cause of constant distractions around you.. well written article

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 20:51h, 10 May Reply

      Thank you Nida.

  • Melissa Jellie
    Posted at 19:00h, 10 May Reply

    Working from home is awesome! I’m doing a little bit of both right now and I think it evens out well. 🙂

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 19:08h, 10 May Reply

      I think people should definitely try both as each has its advantages. You don’t know what works for you until you try.

  • Felly
    Posted at 18:18h, 10 May Reply

    Very interesting…

  • ramesh
    Posted at 16:38h, 10 May Reply

    I have been heading sales for some region since a while…and this is what i have been doing..it saves…time…money…energy and a lot more…i personally dont like offices…its boring and worthless for free people 🙂 🙂

    My blog/art/photography site : http://www.lovetravel.co.in

  • Erin
    Posted at 14:49h, 10 May Reply

    My husband often telecommutes for his job and it’s helped the family on so many occasions. We make sure that it’s reciprocal, though. I don’t allow the children to distract him and I always make sure that he has an area to work in that is at least mostly secure from distraction.

  • Michelle Langi
    Posted at 14:38h, 10 May Reply

    I am lucky to live 15 minutes from my job. I could say I telecommute too because 90% of my customers are online customers. The thing with telecommuting though is people will be chatting to you at midnight about work. Great post.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 14:52h, 10 May Reply

      Of course, Michele, there will always be clients who think you should always be available, but you have to make sure they know when they can and when they can’t bother you.

  • Haytham Bhalo
    Posted at 13:02h, 10 May Reply

    Thank you Vladimir for this post. I hope to read more about telecommuting from you for instance which are some of the common brands in that sector and how to access them. Thank you.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 13:31h, 10 May Reply

      Thanks for the idea for a new post Haytham, although there are none telecommuting brands per se. It’s just a way to work outside the office using your laptop and Internet. But yes, more on this topic coming soon for sure 🙂

  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    Posted at 11:58h, 10 May Reply

    I do most of my work from home and telecommuting is great!

  • sonali jain
    Posted at 11:41h, 10 May Reply

    This is so true, telecommunication saves time which is more precious . 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 11:43h, 10 May Reply

      And thank you for commenting Sonali. Couldn’t agree more with you.

  • Vijee Djega
    Posted at 09:47h, 10 May Reply

    Been tele-commuting even when I was an employee. And now that I am a freelancer for the last three years I would not want to go back. 🙂

  • Lisa Peele @ Wonderling
    Posted at 08:16h, 10 May Reply

    So many of us are using these tools now. I always use Skype for meetings at home, when I can’t make it in to the office. It saves so much time and stress. There is a great value in the human element, person to person, but this isn’t necessary all of the time.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:56h, 10 May Reply

      I completely agree, thank you Lisa.

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