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Is Telecommuting Right for You?

Buzzle Staff
Telecommuting is becoming more and more popular with both businesses and employees. But there's a lot to consider before deciding if it's right for you. Keep reading to know more...

Telecommuting Employment On the Rise

With the growing business use of e-mail, the Internet, fax machines, teleconferencing, and other high-tech marvels, many companies are allowing employees to work in their own homes, away from the office.

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The increasingly portable nature of computer and communications devices has made telecommuting cost-effective and viable enough, to attract the attention of both large and small organizations.

Benefits For Employers and Employees

The most obvious advantage to employers is the savings in expenses. Fewer employees in the office means less need for desks, chairs, bathrooms, computers, copy machines, parking spaces, heating and lighting, telephones, and everything else required for maintaining a working office.
Telecommuting also makes it practical for an organization to reach out another 20 or 30 miles or more to find qualified people to fill important posts. It also becomes possible for them to locate individual workers near important clients.
Also employees will face less interference from co-workers, and would experience less "water-cooler" time, which would eventually help them in devoting more time and attention to their work.
The most obvious benefit for employees is the elimination of the time, trouble, and expense of physically commuting to work. This gives the average person about an extra hour each day to use for the thinking, writing, telephoning, planning, and paperwork that keeps the wheels of business turning.
More control over their time allows employees to take short breaks during the day, to have lunch with a friend, pick up the kids from school, or cook dinner for the family. Working at home also saves money - less gasoline, less wear and tear on dress clothes, and lower food costs due to being able to eat at home.

Working From a Home Office

A personalized work environment, with no distractions from other employees or office politics, gives individuals more freedom and control over their work, making them significantly more productive and efficient.
One more advantage is that, employees can spend part of their evening or nighttime hours working, so they can do their shopping, banking, and other personal business during the day.
Not every personality is suited to this kind of working. The best telecommuters are independent enough to work without a supervisor, and self-sufficient enough to stay productive without the feedback and support of colleagues. Well-developed time management, organization, and planning skills help telecommuters deliver their results on time.

Is It Right For You?

Before accepting a such kind of job, you should consider the main issues that will affect your success or failure.
Do you have the organizational skills and self-discipline necessary to work effectively at home? Will your personality adapt working alone, with less face-to-face interaction with co-workers? Working at home, will you be able to maintain a high enough profile to advance to the position you desire in the company?
Success at telecommuting, seems linked to employees who have a stronger-than-average motivation and drive to succeed. The most effective telecommuters are those who develop specific goals to achieve, and who have their importance to the company measured by results, rather than by meetings attended or hours clocked.


A good way to learn more about telecommuting and what it involves, is to read about others' experiences. There are thousands of web sites devoted to all its aspects, from how to set up a home office, to how to find companies that are amenable to working from home.
For example, The American Telecommuting Association (ATA) is a good place to start. On their site, you can read current and past issues of their newsletter, Tele-News, as well as get some basic information like the history of it.
Their Instant Telecommuter Information Pak,; available for a small fee, provides a copy of their official policy, a "how to" guide for approaching your boss with the idea, a "how to" guide for successful telecommuting, and the current issue of their newsletter.
The ATA has also developed a unique Affinity Index, that helps individuals and organizations do a quick evaluation on the likelihood of success for any person or group of people.
Another good source of information is The Telecommuting Knowledge Center (TKC), a not-for-profit organization that provides a comprehensive online sourcebook and information center for telecommuting technologies.
TKC participants have access to an extensive resource of literature, vendors, consultants, products, services and events, all categorized to make it easy to research topics.
It is one of the fastest-growing shifts in traditional working patterns, and it's far more effective than wearing sneakers and t-shirts for improving employee morale and efficiency. Millions of people in the United States, and around the world are discovering the power, pleasure, and increase in productivity that comes with telecommuting to work.
Although some employers still think that workers who are not subject to direct daily observation by front-line supervisors, will not be productive enough to justify their employment. But it can also be said that telecommuting, if properly planned and administrated, can actually become a very efficient alternative to the traditional office.