What is Telecommuting and What it can Offer You?

09/05/2017 22 comments

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?

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?

freelancer in shadow

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.