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August 29, 2011

By Erica D.

Although most of us probably dream of a job where we can work in our pajamas, telecommuting from home really is not right for everyone. While telecommuting is an option that many employers are offering as an alternative and as a primary way for employees to work, there are many variables that decides whether you are suited to telecommuting if your employer offers this option, and the pros and cons that you can present to your employer if they do not presently offer telecommuting to employees.

First, before you run off and corner your supervisor with your unbiased opinion about offering telecommuting to some employees, you should think long and hard about your ability to work from home. You might think that you will get so much more work done, be more productive for your company, and a happier employee without all the distractions that your workplace sometimes has.

Even though you might feel that you will get more work done without gabby cube mates or endless meetings or the temptation of donuts in the break room that sometimes break up the monotony of work life, think about the distractions you will have at home. How often have you planned on getting work done at night, only to become distracted by the television or a phone call from a friend that turned into a 3 hour marathon?

It takes a great deal of focus and dedication to be an effective telecommuter. Distractions in your home might be too much for you at times and the temptation to kick back for five minutes on the couch (which turns into a half hour, then an hour, then two or three) can often be too much for most of us. Sometimes a home office or work space set aside just for work helps, but still, the lure of a quick raid of the fridge or the ability to play with the dog can simply be too much for many of us.

On the flip side of the coin, the ability to work when a child is sick or when you are feeling a bit under the weather can improve overall productivity for the company that you work for. In addition, employees who have the option to telecommute are less likely to come to work sick and later spread the flu or other forms of sickness around the office. Employees who are given the option of working from home will often enjoy the workplace environment and the energy of the workplace if they know that they don’t absolutely have to be there.

Often, after getting a taste of telecommuting you might find that you can get more work done and you become more productive overall. Your attitude may improve because you appreciate the friendship and camaraderie of your coworkers and completing tasks is much simpler if you can just go to someone’s desk to ask a question or gather information instead of having to work via email and telephone.

In the long run, having the ability to telecommute as an option is one that many employers offer and many more are offering every year to their employees. Technology has come a long way and computer and phone systems make it simple and seamless for employees to telecommute so effectively that to the outside world you appear to be in the office. In today’s times, many employees already have the proper office equipment to work from home. Many more actually have a home office set up, as well.

If you think that you are a good fit for telecommuting or if you believe that it would benefit your company, list out the pros and cons to telecommuting and approach your supervisor with the facts and see if this could become an option for you and all the employees in your company. After all, productivity equals profits and any good business owner is always looking for simple ways to improve their bottom line. Telecommuting might be one benefit that could do just that for their company while making you look like a rock star!