- Business and Employment
The Benefits of Telecommuting
Find out why telecommuting is becoming a popular option for smart and savvy employees and employers. Then get ready to ask your boss to let you start working from home!
Working from home requires self-discipline.
Working from home can save you money and improve your cash flow. Working from home is catching on in popularity as people look for new ways to make money, support their families, and achieve a better work-life balance.
One of the benefits of being a stay-at-home employee is the ability to work from almost location in the world, at any hour of the day. Telecommuting can give you all the financial benefits of a full-time job without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
What is telecommuting? Telecommuting, or teleworking, means that people in certain professions can work from home, communicating with their workplace by taking advantage of today's high-speed communication tools including the internet, mobile devices, SMS, telephones, fax machines, and even social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Telecommuting is popular with many workers because it allows greater scheduling flexibility.
Letting staff work from home also serves as a valuable recognition tool for supervisors who want to acknowledge loyal employees who take initiative and work well independently.
Telecommuting, however, isn't always appropriate for every employee or every workplace. Certain conditions need to be in place for someone to be able to work effectively from a home office. For example, employers and would-be telecommuters must have clear guidelines for how they will communicate with one another and share important information. With some planning and careful consideration, once those barriers to connecting with the head office are removed, telecommuting can be a useful tool for people who want to increase productivity, reduce environmental harm, and improve their overall job satisfaction.
Check out a few more compelling reasons why working from home can improve your overall job performance!
1. Less time spent at the office could help both you and your boss reduce operating costs. Telecommuting can lower your per diem and out-of-pocket work expenses. For example, a driver with an average daily commute of 40 kms round trip per day would be saving themselves $1,500.00 per year, just by working from home one day a week.
Other expenses that should steadily decrease for a telecommuting employee include clothing and dry-cleaning costs, take-out lunches, snacks and coffee break expenses. One coffee and snack ($6) and lunch ($8) per week eaten at home can add up to a savings of over $700.00 per year.
Your boss will also save money by letting you work from home one day a week. When employees telecommute, the cost of running an office decreases. Everything from the electricity bill to leasing costs and insurance premiums can sometimes be reduced when there are fewer people working on site. The more employees that are allowed to work from home, the more your boss could see a reduction in the cost of doing business.
2. Setting up a home office can be good for the environment. Fewer cars on the road also means less idling and less stopping and starting -- two actions that can consume gas at a higher rate than traveling at a normal, steady pace. Less driving also means less wear and tear on your car, which means that overall, your vehicle should last longer and use less gas, and require fewer repairs and chemical top-ups.
According to the Telework Exchange (www.teleworkexchange.com), by working from home one day a week -- and bypassing a 40km round trip commute in a compact car -- a telecommuter can avoid putting .87 tons of pollutants in the air each year!
3. If you are self-disciplined, increased productivity can be a side-benefit of working from home. If you’re committed to keeping the lines of communication open with the people at your office and you're diligent enough to ignore everyday household distractions, there's no reason you can't get more work done by telecommuting. Here are some other reasons working from home can ease your stress levels.
- Limited distractions -- Office politics, gossip, and endless social committee meetings can undermine your ability to get your work done.
- Increased productivity during staff meetings -- One of the biggest time wasters in the office is the endless stream of pop-up, impromptu meetings that get called to solve a crisis and deal with a work-related challenge that people are overreacting to. By limiting your time in the office, you and your co-workers will learn how to triage those problems and deal with them appropriately.
- Improved communications with your superiors and subordinates -- Telecommuting can have a positive effect on your relationship with your boss and your co-workers. Because your time in the office is limited, you and your boss must make an extra effort to stay in touch and keep the lines of communication open. Face-time can't be taken for granted and when your boss has fewer opportunities to meet one-to-one with you, he or she would be wise to initiate longer, more fruitful conversations with you. You, in turn, may find yourself proactively reaching out to your boss to update him or her on your progress. When meetings occur in the office they tend to be on a catch-as-catch-can basis, rather than something that is actively scheduled into the week's work.
- More time for self-study. -- By cutting out 45 - 90 minutes worth of commuting time, you'll have more time to catch up on industry news, readings, and trade publications. It's harder to find time in the office to read all the relevant updates and reports related to your profession -- inevitably someone comes knocking, a crisis arises or your co-workers glance at you sideways as if reading a magazine (albeit a relevant one) was a form of slacking off. An hour to an hour-and-a-half of spare reading time each week (on your comfy couch) can keep you abreast of all the need-to-know news for your profession.
4. Working from home and telecommuting can increase job satisfaction. Being given the privilege of working from home one day a week can give you a greater sense of autonomy and control over your career.
One of the most appealing aspects of telecommuting is that you'll have greater control over your work schedule and environment. You can decide when to take breaks, what to wear to work, and how your home office will be laid out. You can listen to the music you like. You can adjust the lighting, temperature, and air flow in your workspace. You get to make all the individualized decorating decisions you want. If you are the type that likes to work early in the morning, you can get your day started at a time that suits your creative energy levels. Plus, you won't have to deal with a stressful drive or train ride into work in each morning.
By developing the discipline to work from home and keeping the communication lines open with your boss and co-workers, you'll develop a new kind of confidence that can help you along your career path. For example, if you ever choose to venture out on your own by opening a small business or becoming a consultant, you'll already know what your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to working alone.
Talk to your boss and find out if telecommuting is an option for you. Make a plan to explain the benefits of letting you work at home. If you're a valuable employee to the company, you may be able to convince your boss to let you work from home!
When done right, working from home one day a week can help you achieve a healthy work/life balance. The cumulative effect of not having to rush to work in heavy traffic or worry about being late can reduce overall stress levels -- even at just one day of telecommuting each week.
Add in the improved relationships you'll have with your boss and co-workers and the greater sense of accomplishment you'll feel, and soon the benefits of telecommuting start to become clear. With an ideal office set up at home, the freedom to choose the hours that work best for you, and the elimination of productivity busters such as endless meetings and too much talk at the water-cooler, you'll start to see improved health and well-being in both your work and private life.
Make sure that you create a detailed list of all your potential out-of-pocket expenses before you agree to a work from home arrangement. For example, if you're using your own computer and internet connection, who will be responsible for usage charges, software upgrades, ink cartridges, and fax toner? Get an agreement in writing from your boss on how much you'll be reimbursed for these expenses.
If given the chance, would you choose to work from home instead of working at the office?
Video: Telecommuting is Good for Business
© 2013 Sally Hayes