Published On: January 7, 2014
Author: Eric Oliver

In this day and age, telecommuting is not a far-fetched idea any more.  It is becoming more and more expected in IT and online jobs like website design, graphic design, and programming.  There have been a slew of new start ups that were created to be portals for telecommuting job seekers to find online only work in the past few months.  It is fast becoming the norm for many large companies as well as some small local businesses, but is it the right way to work.  Hopefully when you are finished reading this article, you will be able to make that decision on your own.  So, without further ado, we present our telecommuting advice.

To Telecommute or Not to Telecommute…That is the New Question!

Telecommute

Telecommute

Some larger corporations like Yahoo and Best Buy made headlines when they started cutting out telecommuting within their respective companies.  However, with giants like this going against the grain, the discussion begins on whether telecommuting really works or not.

These companies are not the norm and with the market for telecommuting growing every year.  Recent studies have shown that not only does telecommuting decrease the bottom line but increases employee satisfaction, decrease absenteeism, and decrease turnover.  So, why would companies be against telecommuting?  Mostly, due to habit and limited in person communication.

In our opinion, telecommuting is the way of the future, especially in our line of work. We have associates that telecommute now and we cannot be happier.  We hit deadlines, we are productive, and we still work as a cohesive team.  Maybe telecommuting does not work for everyone, but it has been outstanding for our website design company.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Telecommuting slows global warming
  • National productivity would increase by $334 billion to $467 billion a year through telecommuting
  • Telecommuting prevents traffic accidents
  • Telecommuting improves employee satisfaction
  • Telecommuting reduces attrition
  • Telecommuting reduces unscheduled absences
  • Telecommuting increases productivity
  • Telecommuting saves employers money
  • Telecommuting expands the talent pool
  • Telecommuting offers access to grants and financial incentives

Cons

  • Management mistrust
  • Career fears from out of sight out of mind mentality
  • Co-worker jealousy
  • Security issues
  • Collaboration Concerns
  • Employment Law and OSHA Concerns
  • Local Zoning Issues

Can it work for you?

This is a personal question that anyone wanting to telecommute needs to ask themselves.  It is not all unicorns and rainbows but can be stressful at time, well, it is almost always stressful…but being your own boss makes it worth it.  Ask yourself the following:

  • Does your work speak for itself and can your employer give the kind of direction required to work from home or away from the office?
    Since you are not always available for meetings regarding product, you need to make sure that you clearly understand the job requirements and your bosses know your expectations and limitations.  You need to  be available for quick meetings if needed to discuss project requirements that may not be easily stated through email.  You need a good way to communicate to make up for the lack of facetime.  Skype and Facetime are two great methods…so make yourself available or at least let your employer know your availability in order to make sure your work load and time does not decrease because you are not in the office.
  • Can you stay on track?
    This question is huge.  Some people think that working from home is easy…but if you cannot focus and get distracted easily…stay away.  A good way to get fired is to get lazy and let your personal life overtake your professional life.  Many people fall into routines that are counter-productive and create a lazy work atmosphere.  Once that happens, there is no way out.  So, stay focused and keep productive your top priority.  Even though you are not in the office, you are still working.
  • Do you know when to quit?
    Another huge thing that telecommuters fall into is a never ending day.  You have to know when work starts and work ends.  There has been plenty of times where I have stayed up all night to finish a project when I was just starting.  There has to be a cutoff time to enjoy your day…not only work it.  We all know how to work…you need to know when to play.

Whether it is full time or part time…telecommuting can be fun and a new adventure if you know yourself.  Stay focused and stay on task but don’t let yourself get in over your head.  Even though you are not in an office you are still an employee, a more free employee, but an employee nonetheless.  Work hard, create brilliant work, and enjoy what only 10% of the country enjoys.  Hopefully it will get better in the future, but that really relies on you.  The better employees that are given the ability to telecommute the more employers will understand and appreciate telecommuting.  So, give it a go and ask…you will never know if you don’t.

Its Up To You

Its Up To You

If you need to give them a push or enlighten them to the idea, tell them to visit the following resource to learn more about the procs and cons of telecommuting.  We pulled most of our data straight from the source: Global Workplace Analytics

Good luck joining the ranks of freelancers and telecommuters.  Let us know your feedback and your experiences.


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About the Author

Eric Oliver

Director of Website Development

With over a decade of experience designing and developing websites, Eric has worked in every position of the agency ladder. He is fluent in multiple backend and front end programming languages and has written multiple international best selling plugins for WordPress. He has been part of or is still part of many startups. He is the Director of Website Development for Future Design Group and one of it's founding partners.