Telecommuting is nothing new. Over the last decade and a half, more and more people have become to work from home in a full or part time basis. Over the past year, nearly all of the world is telecommuting. Working from home can be beneficial. But most aren’t aware of all the truths about telecommuting.
What is Telecommuting
Basically, telecommuting is working remotely — not in the office. The “office” can be at home, in a park, at a beach, or in a coffee shop. The worker is not tied to one specific location which allows them the ability to work when they normally would have to call in sick or take a vacation day.
Telecommuting is walking a few feet to your work station and still be able to work in your pajamas. It is getting the job done without having to go into the office.
More Common Today
As I write this, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the world is working from home if they can. While a large number telecommuted before the outbreak, the numbers now are a hundred times more. In my office, we went from working from home when sick or other needs demanded it to everyone working from home. We have found that more people can perform this remote working than we had originally thought.
With that being said, the truth about telecommuting is coming out. The good and the bad. Let’s explore those.
There are many pros to working from home. These can vary from person to person. For one person a pro is really a con. So this list I’m about to present might not be agreeable for all.
This list is pulled from my personal experiences and from others who have found themselves working remotely. It is not a complete list.
- No Commute Time — Driving into the office takes me about twenty-five minutes if I time it just right. Otherwise, I’m looking at a forty minute commute. Working from home, I have about a two minute commute as I get up, get my clothes on (maybe), and attend the bathroom. Then I’m ready to go. That means I can either sleep in later than normal or get to work earlier. It’s a win-win either way. That leads to…
- No Commute Traffic — Working from home means no ididot drivers. No wrecks. No speed traps. No stress on the road. That makes it worth it!
- No Dress Code — Want to work in your PJs? Work from home. Okay, if you have to have a video conference call, you might need to at least put a shirt on. But overall, there is no dress code. Don’t worry about makeup, brushing your hair or even shoes if you don’t want to.
- Work and Cuddle Pets — What I have discovered during this COVID time is that the pets win out big over all of us working from home. I can work on my laptop with my dog pressed up against me. I pause and give them a pat on the head or a full cuddle. They say that having pets can help you relax. Why not work and relax? Have your pets by your side to bring a smile on your face as your co-workers try to stress you out.
- Productive Breaks — In the office, there are many small breaks that we tend to take, willingly or not. We get coffee, water, go to the bathroom, chat with a co-worker or make up excuses to walk away from the desk to save our eyes. Working from home, we can fold clothes, take the dog for a walk, rotate laundry, wash a load of dishes. The breaks are more productive when you work from home.
- Nap Time — At work, you might take a lunch. If you do, it might hurried. At home, you can literally walk away from your work and take a short nap. That headache the computer is giving you doesn’t have to push through a noisy breakroom or cafe. You can go to your own bedroom and lie down to let it fade away. Haven’t you wished you could take a short nap while at the office? Now you can.
- Fewer Interruptions — At home, there are fewer interruptions. There are less people stopping by your desk. The dog might ask to be let out. Okay, he might demand it, but that happens only every few hours. At work, it seems to occur every few minutes. You get more done when you telecommute.
- Saves Money — You really do save money when you work from home. There is all that gas money you spend going back and forth to work, especially since so many of us work quite a bit of distance from home. You don’t have to order out for food. You don’t have to have your work clothes cleaned or purchase new ones. Any clothing works. You save money all the way around.
- Get More Work Done — I have found working from home that I can get more done in three hours than I can get in eight hours at the office. With fewer interruptions and being more comfortable, I work and forget the time. So much more work gets completed before the end of the day.
Even great things such as working from home can have some cons. There are very few, if any, true rose gardens in life. Here are a few that I have experienced.
- Family Interruptions — Mom! Honey! Bark! Meow! I hear that a lot working from home. They need me to find something. They need to be run somewhere. I have to pick up groceries or prescriptions. They need lunch, laundry, and everything else from you.
- Assumptions of Not Working — Don’t be surprised when work assumes you are not working when you telecommute. If you are at home, you are more than likely watching soap operas or out shopping instead of actually working. That can be a pain when you are trying to get the work done and work calls to make sure you are chained to your desk.
- More Inactive Desk Time — When you are chained to your desk, you find that you are quite a bit inactive. Yes, your fingers and wrists get a workout on the computer, but you don’t move around a lot. Your back gets stiff. You knees lock. It is tough to walk after sitting inactive so long. This is not good for your health.
- Less Social Interaction — When you work from home, there is just those you live with to interact with. That means you usually see fewer people. This can be good at times, especially for those like me who are introverted. For many, this can be crazy. They like to see others and at least greet them.
The Hidden Truth
What is the hidden truth? That companies have avoided telecommuting for the wrong reasons for way too long. But Covid-19 forced their hand. They had to let their employees work remotely, and they discovered that all their objections could be knocked down.
Need to have paper files? No, you don’t. You can have electronic ones that will make it easier to share data while not working in the same building.
Have to see that the employee is working? See what they produce for you. Don’t try to monitor their every minute. Monitor their output.
The hidden truth is that telecommuting is not as hard to do for employer or employee. It saves everyone money. It tends to be more productive. Yes, there is that one employee who isn’t, but were they really productive in the office?
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.