The Remote Office Worker: Pros and Cons of Telecommuting
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The Remote Office Worker: Pros and Cons of Telecommuting

Telecommuting is a nice work option that affords one the ability to work remotely anywhere and anytime. This trend is expected to continue to grow in the future. Although, this arrangement may be perfect for some, it’s not suited for everyone.This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting for the employee and the company.

Telecommuting, sometimes called teleworking, is simply working from a remote location other than the employee’s office.  Most telecommuters work from home, but not always.  Some work at coffee houses, sandwich shops, the library, or wherever he/she deems is conducive to working comfortably, able to concentrate, and execute obligatory job assignments in a timely fashion.  Employees can connect with their employer’s electronically via e-mail, fax, phone, text, web cam, and the Internet without physically being present at the workplace.  Remote workers usually work part-time or more---away from the office and spend the remaining work hours in the office. Rarely does an employee work full-time hours remotely, unless he/she is an independent contractor, and not a regular employee.

An increasing number of companies now allow its employees to complete their job assignments away from the company location. Technological advances enable employees to communicate effectively with his/her manager and to receive and deliver work assignments electronically just as if he/she was on the premises.  However, managers are particular about which employees are responsible enough to work devoid of direct supervision.  Let’s face it, not everyone is suited for telecommuting.  Managers must also determine which jobs are suitable for this type of procedure.  In addition, telecommuters don’t have to live in the same city where the company is actually located and that’s a big plus for the employee and the company.

There are definitely some great benefits of telecommuting for the employee as well as the company.  However, there are some drawbacks of telecommuting that the employer and the employee need to be aware of before resorting to this procedure.  Are you suited for telecommuting?  Listed are advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting.

Advantages of telecommuting

  • Increased productivity- some employees are more productive away from the office
  • Increased moral- employee moral increases when he/she is doing something enjoyable
  • Increased job satisfaction- it’s a fact that there is greater job satisfaction among telecommuters
  • Savings- employee saves gas money, lunch money, and time spent in traffic
  • Spend time with family- employees with small children or caring for loved ones can attend to family obligations when needed
  • Reduced absenteeism- employees with dependants don’t have to call in when children are sick, but can work flexible hours
  • Tax write-off- telecommuters can take advantage of tax write-offs for home-based business when he/she uses his/her own equipment
  • Job flexibility- one can plan work around his/her schedule, provided worker is not working for as a call center representative.
  • Higher retention rate- telecommuters tend to stay with the company longer than non-remote traditional workers
  • Workers with disabilities- this arrangement is advantageous for employees with physical disabilities

Disadvantages of telecommuting

  • Lack of supervision- employees are often tempted to run personal errands and neglect job responsibilities
  • Decreased productivity- due to the lack of supervision, some employees are less productive
  • Multiple distractions- personal matters and noises make it difficult for one to stay focused at home
  • Isolation- independent worker may need help (teamwork) from coworkers in some cases, especially when work is behind
  • Missed camaraderie- employee may experience loneliness and desire social interaction with coworkers
  • Technological malfunctions- unable to complete work on time when the system is down or runs slow
  • Decreased loyalty- employee may no longer feel obligated to keep company regulations and/or support the company vision
  • Poor time management- some employees fail to manage time effectively minus direct supervision
  • Out of sight, out of mind- yes it true, employees on site tend to forget about the remote workers.  Scenario- “Hello, is Joan Jill in? ”  “Sorry, we don’t have anyone here by that name”  “Say what, I just spoke with her an hour ago”  “Oh yes, I forgot she works here, she’s our telecommuter…
  • Miss the fun stuff- employee will oftentimes miss out on parties, luncheons, and other fun activities for employees, sponsored by the company

Concluding, telecommuting is a nice work option that affords one the ability to work remotely anywhere and anytime.  This trend is expected to continue to grow in the future.  Although, this arrangement may be perfect for some, it’s not suited for everyone.

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Comments (11)

I am not really at ease with telecom. I'd rather have a personal meeting.

I think that a major plus is your point about having a flexible schedule. A thorough list!

I liked your article and know there are lots of opportunity for telecomuting out there.

Well writen article showing the pros and cons. There is certainly a place for this in our world these days

I would love to telecommute or at least work from home one or two days each week. Thanks for listing both pros and cons for this option.

An excellent analysis. Thank you Donata!

I was not able to comment when I recommended your article last visit. Well presented and valuable information.Thank you.

You're giving useful information as usual.

Thanks for your endless support.

I've recommended ALL your articles -- my pleasure.   I'm waiting for your new handiwork.

Very good analysis of the pros and cons, Donata.

Thankfully I don\'t need to telecommute :D  By the way, love your new profile pic.  Not been on for a while and its lovely!

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