Telecommuting describes a working arrangement whereby employees perform their job in a remote location, away from the company’s office. Instead of commuting to the office, an employee completes work assignments remotely via the internet and a phone connection.
When telecommuting, an employee may work from a home office or an alternative workspace such as libraries, coffee shops, and coworking spaces. Some organizations demand that employees come into the traditional office space occasionally.
Also known as teleworking, telecommuting differs slightly from remote work. Most notably, remote workers have fewer restrictions regarding face-to-face time, and they won’t be required to come into the office at all. Telecommuters may be required to be in a physical location for purposes such as taxation.
Typical telecommuting jobs include web developers, content writers, graphic designers, social media specialists, and accountants. Both part-time contractors and full-time employees can work a telecommuting work schedule.
Advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting
The popularity of telecommuting is rising, and more businesses are appreciating the benefits — but not without considering the disadvantages too.
Benefits of telecommuting
Businesses worldwide have started crafting work-from-home policies as the benefits of telecommuting become increasingly apparent.
Improve productivity by allowing employees to work in a quiet and productive work environment
Boost general well-being from a better work-life balance through flexible work hours
Reduce office costs by cutting back on real estate, work lunches, transportation billables, and parking spaces
Decrease environmental footprint by reducing transportation time with a remote job arrangement
Improve employee satisfaction and, in turn, employee retention
Lower absenteeism as employees are happier and healthier
Understanding your employees’ needs and embracing the remote work culture are effective ways to motivate employees and improve the quality of work.
Cons of telecommuting
As businesses continue to familiarize themselves with telecommuting culture, specific considerations must be considered. For example;
Unclear boundaries negatively impact productivity
Isolation and loneliness due to lack of in-person interaction
Communication and collaboration challenges caused by the distance
Many of these disadvantages can be managed through technological tools, messaging applications, and streamlined management.
How many people telecommute?
The pandemic increased the popularity of remote work, forcing people to work from home. As the world readjusted to the new normal, telecommuting became a middle ground where businesses and remote workers could meet halfway.
A recent McKinsey survey reported that 58 percent of Americans embrace the opportunity to work from home at least once a week. The same research reveals that 35 percent have the option to work from home five days a week.
When given the option to work with a flexible schedule, 87 percent of respondents take it. These respondents represent a variety of demographics, including occupations and locations.
The future of telecommuting
Remote work and telecommuting are here to stay, disrupting industries along the way.
With the help of Wi-Fi and technological tools such as Zoom for video calls and messaging apps like Slack, team members can stay in touch and work towards productivity — while working at home.
As more industries discover how telecommuting works, more companies are starting to offer flexible work options. Global hiring platforms, such as Deel, help businesses fill a telecommuting position and improve flexible work options.