Is Telecommuting for You?

Telecommuting offers many benefits, but it may not be for everyone. Effective telecommuting depends on the right mix of many variables, including the right jobs/tasks people, organizations, and home-office settings.

Talk to your employer and take a variety of things into consideration as you explore teleworking, including:

  • Does your job lend itself to teleworking?
  • Do you have a good job performance record?
  • Are you self-disciplined?
  • Does your organization culture lend itself to telecommuting?

Questions to ask about telecommuting:

  • Will I be able to complete the work to the same standards as if I were working in the office?
  • Is my absence from the office likely to affect my co-workers’ ability to get their work done?
  • Do I have an orderly and quiet place to work at home?
  • Will I be able to work without interruptions from household activities and family members?
  • Do I have the equipment and necessary space to work at home?
  • Can my employer and co-workers reach me easily by phone and/or e-mail?
  • Are my co-workers likely to resent it if I telecommute?
  • Is my family likely to resent the intrusion of work in the house?
  • Will I miss being in the office?
  • How often would I want to telecommute?
  • How might my employer benefit from this arrangement—increased productivity, less office crowding, reduced costs?
  • Are you are a union member? You may also want to check your union agreement and see if it addresses telecommuting.

Once you feel comfortable with your answers to the questions above, approach your supervisor or human resources department. If your employer agrees to let you telecommute, be sure that you have the same understanding about what that means. You should discuss work hours, lunch breaks, what equipment will be used for your work and how you can be contacted.

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