Telecommuting work: it almost sounds like a job title, when really, it’s just another word to mean ‘working from home.’
Well, you don’t have to be at ‘home’ to do it_ you can work at the coffee shop, at the library_anywhere that isn’t the office. Instead of traditional meetings, you have telephone and video calls.
Telecommuting is also called ‘working from home’ or ‘working remotely.’ However, while these words can be used interchangeably, telecommute work implies that the employee is hired by one central company. A remote worker, on the other hand, can be tied to multiple companies.
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Advantages of Telecommuting Work
Telecommute jobs have benefits for both employers and employees. First…
For Anyone Considering Switching to Telecommute Work
It can be a little scary to make the switch at first because working from home can be distracting. No-one is checking up to see if you are doing your job, and your couch is right there. You need some level of discipline to be a telecommute worker, and the best way to develop some is to remember that you are still at work.
The only thing that changes is your location, but it is still work, and you have to put in just as much time and energy, if not more.
Here are a few reasons why you should telecommute:
Saves you some time (and money)
Have you ever wished you could teleport to work? Now you can.
In the traditional work setting, the employee has to physically show up at the office. This can take you a few minutes or hours depending on a lot of factors.
With telecommute work, all you have to do is log into your work account at 9 am and log out at 5. You might not even have to leave your bed to do your job.
This is how telecommuting work saves you money.
First, no more bus fare or paying for fuel to drive to work. No more shopping for official office pants and blazers, no more buying lunch.
Telecommuting saves money for specific groups of people as well. Consider new parents who work have to pay a babysitter because they can now work from home as they take care of their baby.
Improves your well-being
As a telecommute worker, you get to choose where you want to work. Some companies will let you set your own hours as long as you get the job done on time.
Telecommuting allows you to balance your professional and personal obligations. All those times you have to miss work because ‘something’ came up: telecommuters simply take their work with them.
It’s not odd for employees to feel as if they are missing out on their lives at home. Working remotely allows you to balance your responsibilities at work and at home.
Enhance your productivity
Getting ready in the morning, catching the bus or driving to work, and then getting settled on your desk_you don’t realize how exhausting all this can be until you telecommute. You get to cut out that extra 20 minutes of commuting, and you also get to work in a familiar environment.
Telecommuting is good for the environment
Is your company planning on going green?
With global warming on the rise, companies are being urged to try and reduce their carbon footprint. Telecommute work might not entirely be the answer, but it’s a step forward in the right direction.
Telecommute workers travel less. Telecommuting also eliminates the energy consumed by office equipment. In a world where everyone telecommuted, there would also be less traffic congestion. If your company is planning to go green, having (some) employees work from home would be a good start.
How Your Business Can Benefit From Telecommuting Work
It costs a lot to run an office, but it doesn’t have to. With telecommuting workers, you won’t have to rent a big office space, hire a cleaning crew, or buy office furniture. Remember the little things also add up; buying stationery and setting a budget for coffee, because what office doesn’t have coffee.
Telecommuting employees save you a lot of money, besides, you get access to a national (and global) talent pool.
When a company implements a telecommuting policy, it shows its receptiveness towards new trends. It shows that the company is progressive enough to allow their employees some freedom on how they conduct their work.
Companies that trust their employees are more attractive to expert job applications.
Many people now see telecommuting as an essential option they should have rather than a bonus and to attract top talent, brands need to offer a flexible way of working.
Besides, telecommuting work doesn’t have to be full-time. Employees can work from the office a few days out of the week, and work from home on other days.
Telecommute work powers innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect example of how telecommuting fuels the invention of new technologies. With employees unable to commute to work, we have seen companies adopt new applications like Zoom to conduct meetings.
Time-tracking and collaborative software have been around for the longest time, but companies are only starting to adopt these applications now because they have no option.
While these applications were developed for remote workers, their uses are not just limited to telecommuters. Even if your company doesn’t see it fit to hire telecommuting workers, you should still consider integrating tools created for telecommuting (like Trello, Zoom, and Slack) into your daily processes. It will greatly improve your efficiency.
Challenges of Telecommuting Work
Telecommute work needs you to be highly self-motivated because there are many distractions at home_binge watching your favorite show and spending time with your family.
So how does a telecommute worker stay on schedule?
Accountability. To be accountable, write down your schedule. Get a time table that shows you what you have to do and when you have to do it. And then ask yourself if you can get the work done at home or you need a more productive environment, like the library or coffee shop. Be accountable and honest with yourself. You also have to be accountable to your supervisor.
Working from home can be isolating.
You’ll miss the office banter and drama, and this leaves a lot of telecommuting workers feeling lonely in their jobs. Companies remedy this by holding video calls or having face-to-face meetings once every few months. It’s important for workers to have social interaction with friends or family and not entirely keep to themselves.
Since telecommuting depends on technology, you need to reinforce the security of your system. Employees will usually have a passcode to the business accounts, and since each one is working from a different location, the chances of cybersecurity attacks are high.
Telecommuting workers need an education on how to use the relevant software and how to protect themselves from online attacks.
How to Telecommute Successfully
Get a convenient working space.
It could be the library, coffee shop, or turn a spare bedroom into an office. Just avoid working from your bed or the couch because you might be tempted to watch some TV and the bed is guaranteed to make you feel lazy.
Separate your work and home schedules. Get dressed for work even if you are just going to the other room. It will help you get in the right headspace so you can focus on the job without getting distracted.
Also, ensure you have a professional-looking background for when you are having work-related video calls.
Be mindful of your outfit.
One of the perks of working from home is that you get to wear what you want, however, a casual business look is advisable for when you get an impromptu video call.
Have a starting and a stop time. That way you can set aside time for working and time for everything else you want to do.
A lot of telecommuting workers end up working longer than they have to because they get distracted. Avoid this by writing down your schedule and sticking to it.
Inform your friends and family about your work arrangement.
This way they won’t expect you to run their errands just because you work from home. Tell them not to pop in your house for a lunch/drink hangout. And if you have small kids they need to understand mommy is working and not available for their tea party.
Have clear and transparent communication with your supervisor.
Notify them when you are done with a project and when you encounter a problem. Schedule regular check-ins, whether its a video-call or an email, just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Have a working contract.
Employers need to know how many hours their employees are working. How many projects do the telecommuting workers complete per week? It’s important to define this earlier on in the contract.
Finally, the workers might not have the right tools required for the job. It falls on the companies to provide employees with the right tools, be it a laptop, or access to the relevant software.
Businesses have a fear that they will lose control over their employees if they make the move into telecommuting. Employees on the other hand worry that if they telecommute, they will be passed over on promotions (out of sight out of mind) or that they will be assigned bad projects.
All these fears come from a lack of understanding. Telecommute work is no different from any other form of work, it just comes with a little bit more freedom and requires a little bit more accountability.