Telecommute - Employers
Telecommuting—also known as working from home (WFH), or working remotely—is a work arrangement in which the employee works outside the traditional office setting. This can mean working from home, or at a location close to home such as coffee shops, libraries, or co-working spaces.
Based on an agreement between the employer and the employee, telecommute can be full-time, or part-time WFH and part-time in the office.
Technology and online tools such as wireless devices, online applications, and collaboration tools, like online meeting software, have made working from home easier than ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
These terms are used interchangeably, though they have minor technical differences. Telecommuting is used as a blanket term referring to a work arrangement in which employees do not commute into a central office. This can be part-time, full-time or another alternative schedule that is agreed upon.
Work from home employees are telecommuters, but not all telecommuters are work from home. They can work from a co-working space, a satellite office or other remote location.
Rather than physically commuting to the office, employees who telecommute (work from home or work remotely) communicate via telecommunication tools, keeping in touch with coworkers and employers via telephone, online chat programs, video meetings, email and other online productivity tools.
Employers should implement a comprehensive telecommute strategy and policy for both telecommute employees and managers for an effective program.
Employees who telecommute are often more productive, and are likely to be happier in their jobs.
Plus, employers can benefit just as much as the employees who telecommute. Offering telecommute as an options can provide a wider range of applicants, and potentially lower overhead costs.
Giving employees the option to work from home can lead to less sick days taken, less turnover, and fewer work/family conflicts.
It can be difficult to communicate remotely and develop a sense of community with co-workers and superiors. It can also make brainstorming and sharing ideas more difficult.
While there are disadvantages to employing telecommuters, most can be remedied with productivity and communication tools, and proper company policy.
Good communication skills are important regardless of the work environment, but for employees who telecommute they're even more so. A lack of nonverbal cues when communicating virtually can make it harder convey your intended message, and context can get lost. Since most of your communication will be conducted via phone, email, or chat, being able to express yourself clearly and succinctly is critical.
You don’t have to be a wiz, but you do have to be comfortable accessing and using online productivity and communication tools. You should also have the ability to perform basic trouble-shooting if you have problems with you network or computer. If you are working from a co-working space or public place, such a library, you may not have control over some of these elements. Knowing what the issue is and whether or not you can fix it, or if you need to move to another place is important.
The ability to work on your own and be productive with minimal instruction is a crucial skill for telecommute employees to have. If you do your best work while alone, you might be a good candidate.
Resourcefulness is a helpful telecommute skill to have. Critical thinking, confidence in handling occasional crises on you own, and good research skills allow you to work without asking for help from outside your one-person office.
Working from home creates its own set of work distractions. While throwing a load of laundry in during your lunch break is one of the added perks of working from home, without good time-management skills it can be easy to lose track of time and lose focus on your work assignments.
Helpful Telecommute Resources
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