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.

Employees who telecommute often have greater freedom over their work hours and location. Employees have more flexibility to balance work and personal obligations, such as school pick-up or caring for an ill family member. 

Commute time is reduced and sometimes eliminated, saving both time and money, particularly for employees who would otherwise commute from a far distance to the office.

Employees who telecommute are often more productive, and are likely to be happier in their jobs.

Some employees can find it hard to concentrate or stay motivated while working from home. Having a dedicated and properly equipped workspace, and an organized daily routine is important to being a productive WFH employee.

It can be difficult communicate remotely and develop a sense of community with other co-workers and superiors. It can also make brainstorming and sharing ideas more difficult. Routine meetings that use video chat can help resolve this issue. 

Good Communication 

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.


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