Have you joined the ranks of the world’s many telecommuters? Perhaps you are considering making the switch from commuting to working from home. No matter what your motivation is to telecommute, thousands of employees are finding that telecommuting is very rewarding. Take our quiz now to see if you are up to date on telecommuting.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of employees working from home grew by 23 percent from 1990 to 2000.
Experts consider the availability of reliable high-speed Internet as a catalyst to the explosive growth in employees working from home. The connectivity of the Internet helped employers to allow employees to transition to a work at home option.
According to the Boston Business Journal, the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake provided the impetus for thousands to work at home. Moskowitz claims that the quake prompted many companies to implement telecommuting programs quickly in order to stay in business.
Prior to the Internet most people relied on landline telephones, fax machines and couriers to communicate and move material between their home office and work location.
A good computer is considered essential for most telecommuters today. Less essential but almost as important is a quality printer, especially if it incorporates a scanner and a fax as well.
Many companies offer remote access directly into their intranet network servers via their employees’ internet connections. There are various ways to connect including Web client e-mail, Virtual Private Networking (VPN) and dedicated employee web pages.
Several different software packages are available to install on your laptop and your office computer. When you go away, you leave your office computer running and when you connect remotely you can see your office desktop and control it remotely.
Web conferencing software has come a long way to meeting the needs of virtual video conferencing, remote work sharing. Most software even allows you to display a document, spreadsheet or presentation to participants by allowing them to view your desktop as you speak.
Most employers that have employees working at home have established standards of computer equipment, software and internet connection bandwidth. Standards make it easier to ensure that you can work efficiently and seamlessly while at home.
According to the American Telecommuting Association, employee productivity generally increases by 10 to 15 percent when they are telecommuting. People working at home tend to spend less time socializing and more time focusing on work, because of fewer interruptions at home.
Companies that allow employees to telecommute experience reduced absenteeism, decreased employee burn out, reduction of overhead costs and savings in real estate costs. Many companies have several vacant cubicles reserved for telecommuting employees who need to or want to come in to the office for a day or two, but there is not a designated cubicle for every employee.
A 2007 survey taken by Kenexa Corp. found that 70 percent of telecommuting employees took pride in working from home. The survey polled 10,000 U.S. workers.
The survey found that 73 percent of telecommuters were satisfied with their company as opposed to only 64 percent of commuters who felt the same. Many experts feel that the high satisfaction is due to the implicit trust that employers show by allowing telecommuting.
According to a study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association an average telecommuter uses about 850 gallons less than an average commuter every year.
It is a good idea to work out a status-reporting schedule and method with your manager along with when and whom you should call on the phone. The best advice is to have set hours for work and to not fall into the trap of working constantly as a concession to being at home.