What is Telework?
The terms “telework,” “telecommuting,” “flexible workplace,” “remote work,” “virtual work,” and “mobile work” are all used to refer to work done outside of a traditional office environment.
In most cases, teleworkers work from home on a computer that is linked to their employer.
There are many advantages in the telework arrangement, for both employees and employers.
For Employees — The advantages of working from home center around two elements: less expense and more time with your family.
– You’ll spend no time or money on a commute. The average American spends more than 100 hours a year commuting to and from work. With gasoline prices between $2 and $3 per gallon, telecommuting can save an average worker $3,000 to $4,000 a year — not to mention eliminating wear on his automobile and time wasted in traffic.
– You’ll reduce your childcare costs. Although you’ll still dedicate the same amount of time to work as an office worker would, you can arrange to be the person who drops off and picks up your children after school, takes them to the doctor, or even watches your toddler for half of the day.
– You’ll keep more of your earnings. The substantial amount of money you’ll save by reducing child care costs, and by eliminating the cost of commuting and eating lunch away from home will be like giving yourself a raise. Some studies estimate the average savings from telecommuting at approximately $7 an hour.
– You’ll have a better balance between work and your home life. Telework allows employees to spend more time with their family, and the flexibility allows more involvement in community activities and hobbies.
For Employers — The advantages of having employees work from home all go to your bottom line. Specifically:
– Increased productivity: When employees have more time to be with their families or to do things for themselves, they’re happier people. Because happier people are less stressed, they are more productive and less likely to make mistakes. This leads to getting more work done efficiently.
– Reduced costs: Companies with teleworkers see savings in a variety of operational costs, including real estate, facilities, business travel, and other overhead expenses. Liability and health insurance costs go down.
– Improve recruiting and retention: The flexible working conditions offered by telework make it easier to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Reducing turnover enhances productivity, creativity, and the quality of work.
How Do I Work from Home?
Teleworkers do their work in very much that same way as they would in an office setting today: via a computer linked to their employer’s server. An effective home office — including proper furniture, computer equipment and accessories, in a quiet space — will allow you to be a productive and successful teleworker.
What Types of Jobs are Available for Teleworkers?
Telework jobs cover a wide variety of different skill sets and schedules, just like the traditional workplace. Available jobs range from entry-level work with limited educational and skill requirements to highly skilled professional positions requiring postsecondary degrees and special certifications. These jobs include positions that are full time, part time, seasonal, or independent contractor status. Many of the jobs offer the same benefits provided to on-site employees.
Employee Perspective –
Employee’s work longer hours and are often more productive. Coming into an office takes more hours of energy exertion than just the hours in the office. Dressing, commuting, waking up an hour earlier for commute time allowance — all of this drains energy from workers who might telecommute without expending extra energy on just getting to an office.
In their own environment telecommuters are more comfortable and therefore, more productive. Because telecommuters are in their own home office or home, they can break up their day by taking care of business at home, too. This may seem like a waste of energy to employers, but the stress it reduces from telecommuters allows them more productivity for work, rather than more time on site and less productivity.
Telecommuters who work night owl hours will find each other and work together, on a more natural clock than office workers who are forced into a nine to five work schedule. This kind of work dynamic promotes more natural, productive work than a forced schedule.
When working from a home office it’s imperative that it be treated as such. You will need to set specific guidelines for family and friends ahead of time. This should mean that when the door to your home office is shut they understand and respect that you are currently working and will refrain from interrupting important matters. When working from home those closest to you should treat your home office with the same respect and acknowledgement as they would if you were working in a high rise downtown.
There are many benefits of having a home office which allows you to easily switch from work to your home environment in a timely manner versus if you were to work in a real office. However, just because you are working from home doesn’t give family and friends the ability to visit or interrupt your work. This is why all guidelines should be discussed and put into place well before you ever start working in your home office. If you make your “work at home” expectations clear from the beginning there will be no confusion and everyone will understand what is and is not allowed.
Some company executive’s frown on those who choose to work from home and while many may picture workers lounging on the couch watching Television. This is only a myth. Anyone who intends on being a successful work at home individual will take the effort needed to create a productive workspace. This area should be setup so you are comfortable but will have everything that you need to get work done efficiently without any distractions from pets, family and friends.
The WAHM (Work at Home Moms) offer several good points in how to create a productive office that allows you to be comfortable and productive at the same time.
Making Smart Choices
There are many similarities when comparing your home office to a traditional workplace. Even though you are working remotely from home you still have deadlines to keep and work that needs to be done. You should avoid pretending to be sick just so you can get out of working from home. Working in a virtual world may be a bit different than you are used to and will require more dedication on your part but by making smart choices you will be able to work quickly and productively from your home office.