Is Telecommuting Right for You?
June 19, 2007
Perhaps in response to the seemingly countless number of horrors in the workplace, telecommuting is continuing to gain in popularity among small and large firms alike. Could it work well for you and your employer? Here we consider the "why" and "how" to do it and do it successfully. American commuters alone take an average of 24 to 51 minutes a day traveling to and from work. The average U.S. employee travels between 29 to 32 miles (round trip) for work each workday. Because the daily commute often cuts into personal time (sometimes deeply), telecommuting presents an appealing alternative to many of us. And with rising gasoline prices, the attraction of telecommuting jumps considerably. Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages for both companies and workers who choose telecommuting. Benefits and Drawbacks Before even considering telecommuting, most companies and some employees, too have to answer a simple question: Does the position lend itself to successful telecommuting? Moreover, "the jobs telecommuters do must be results-driven rather than activity-driven," according to Jacqueline Taylor
- Get organized and develop good work habits from the moment you begin.
- Establish a safe location in your home as your workspace. You don't need to devote an entire room for your office at home. Some telecommuters have successfully developed part of an existing room, a garage, an attic and even a closet for their workstation. Locate your workstation away from distractions. Don't try working on the couch in front of the television or on the dining room table. It doesn't work! Inform family members that your workspace is off limits.
- Don't get caught without necessary tools to work efficiently.
- Set a work schedule for the days you telecommute, and stick to it. Begin and finish working at the same time on telecommuting days, as this will help you establish a routine.
- Develop a list of goals and assignments for the days you telecommute. At the end of the day, go over the list and see what you've accomplished.
- Replace the "ritual" of getting ready for the office with another ritual; establish new rituals for telecommuting days. Some telecommuters actually leave their house, go around the block, return and begin the workday. Others play specific music or begin working after a morning exercise session or bike ride. Find a ritual that will work for you.
- Finally, if you are going to make telecommuting work for you, consider having an end-of-the-day ritual to mark the end of the workday.