To Telecommute or Not

With gas prices constantly rising, traffic making the roads more and more congested, and technology catching up in strides, telecommuting has become more popular the last five years or so.

Our company has blessed its employees with flexibility but are all things equal when telecommuting? We’ve put together a pros/cons list from those of us who do telecommute.

Pros

  • Flexibility: Whether it’s throwing in a load of laundry while you’re waiting for an email, or being able to exercise since you’re not spending that time commuting, everyone agrees that telecommuting’s biggest asset is the flexibility.
  • Financial: Have you seen the gas prices lately? And it’s not just gas; it’s the wear and tear on your car, the not going out to eat with friends every day, and the reduced need for so many suits and skirts. Your wallet, no doubt, benefits from the telecommute.
  • Going Green: Commuting is talked up as one of the top contributors to air pollution, as more and more people join the work force and spend hours on the road. If you’ve ever rolled down your window while sitting in traffic on the highway, you can’t help but agree. There’s a reason people go camping–it’s the fresh air.
  • Productivity: Most telecommuters would agree that without the constant distractions of a traditional office environment, they are actually MORE productive when left to their own devices, and find that they accomplish more in shorter time frames.
  • Peace of Mind: Whether it’s to be at home when your kids get off the bus, or just the relief of not wasting two hours a day in traffic, your day is likely a little calmer than the average commuter.

Cons

  • Flexibility: If you are a routine-type person, the flexibility of telecommuting may actually be an adjustment. Personally, I make myself get dressed instead of sitting in my pajamas, and had to settle into my own version of a routine, even if it didn’t involve getting in the car to go to the office. And if you are a Type B person, telecommuting may provide too much flexibility which translates into less productivity.
  • Social: Telecommuting, no doubt, does take a specific type of person. You have to be content with the lack of daily face-to-face interaction with your colleagues. No, there aren’t spontaneous donuts waiting in the breakroom, and no miscellaneous chats at the water cooler.
  • On-Call: Just as we list productivity as a pro, telecommuting also means it’s ten times more difficult to leave work at work and commit to normal hours. (But hey, maybe that’s a bonus for your boss!) A former supervisor always used to say, “The flight of stairs downstairs isn’t enough of a transition from work Amy to mom Amy.”
  • Technically Speaking: You can’t walk down the hall to the IT department asking why your email archive folder is missing, or join the rest of the office in a coffee break when your internet goes down. No, you are on the phone with the internet provider or your IT rep begging for a solution.

When it comes down to it, you probably aren’t choosing to telecommute unless you have an arsenal of reasons that make it worth it, but what are your thoughts? Would you be well-suited to telecommute or do you prefer the traditional office environment?

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1 Comment

Filed under General, In Our Opinion

One response to “To Telecommute or Not

  1. I am a telecommuter and honestly it would be hard to go back to a traditional office. Though as you said I do throw loads of laundry in, and get some exercise in, my lack of daily distractions make me much more productive than I ever was in the work environment.

    After doing this now for years, I really have figured out how to make that door of the home office be not only physical but mental. It took a couple of years, but I did master it. I think it is a skill you need to master to be successful at this long term.

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