Telecommuting…It’s about time and place
With the ever-changing economy over the past few decades, the need for families to produce two incomes in order to make ends meet is becoming more and more prevalent. When raising children, this raises many issues. The most pressing issue is figuring out how the home and children will be managed and cared for while both parents are at work. For many families, the inability to juggle these roles can be a daily torment. Thankfully, more and more employers are recognizing the benefits of allowing their employees to telecommute in order to help balance their work life with their home life.
Telecommuting Benefits Employers AND Employees
In the right setting, with the right employee, telecommuting can be the perfect arrangement for both employer and employee. And with today’s technology, telecommuting is a breeze! It brings many benefits such as:
- Saves time. The average commute is 1 – 2 hours a day. You just added a work out to your day or better yet, a little more quality time with your loved ones.
- Saves money. Whether by car or mass transit, getting to work adds up.
- The “Green” way to work. Less people on the road, less pollution in the air.
- Fewer interruptions = Increased productivity.
Penn. State University researchers analyzed 46 studies on telecommuting that included more than 12,000 employees and found, “Telecommuters reported that they were more satisfied with their jobs, were motivated to stay with the employer, experienced less stress, were able to balance work and family time better and got higher ratings from their bosses.” (Reuters 2007)
In addition to the many employee benefits, the employer also has a major cost benefit. American companies could add more than $260 billion annually to their bottom lines and consumers could save $228 billion if eligible employees worked from home. (Lister and Harnish)
Of course, telecommuting is not for everyone
If you have small children at home all day or a strong need for daily social interaction, telecommuting may not be the right fit for you. It takes discipline and independence to make telecommuting work, but for many who struggle to get it all done, it is worth the effort.
Tips for Telecommuters
If you feel telecommuting is right for you, here are some tips to make your work day pleasant and productive:
Create a professional work space. Find a quiet workspace within your home that works for you– and no, this does not mean your bed or the couch.
Set limits for work. Just like going to the office, create a start and end time to your work day. The flexibility of work from home is great when you need to work after-hours, but do your best to maintain some separation between work and family time.
Log your time and work. This will keep your employer aware of your work ethic and accomplishments, as well as help to ensure that you are managing your time properly.
Have a plan. Part of your pre-work ritual should include a plan. Any chores, family obligations, breaks, and meals need to be figured realistically into your schedule. This will help you to allot the proper amount of time to get it all done.
Minimize interruptions. If you can, turn off outside interruptions, and ask anyone else in the home not to interrupt you when you’re doing an important task. Interruptions can kill your productivity.
Don’t watch kids and work. Many people make the mistake of substituting telecommuting for child care. You can’t actually do both at the same time. Telecommuting is great for the flexibility you’ll need if you have kids, but when you need to work, you need to make other arrangements for your children.
Meet Up for Water Cooler Chat. If you end up telecommuting full-time, you won’t be stopping by your colleagues’ desks to talk about last night’s adventure. But those informal interactions help develop professional relationships. So make time to go into the office on occasion and even schedule a monthly happy hour!
The flexibility, convenience and ecological and monetary benefits of working from home will lift the stress and increase the brainpower. So break out your sweats, download that Skype, and enjoy a happier, more productive life!
Have you ever telecommuted? What did you like and dislike about it?