What Is Telecommuting? | Definition & Tips
- What is telecommuting?
- Common telecommute jobs
- Advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting
- How to find a telecommuting job
- Tips for asking about telecommuting
Since many people can do most of their job on the computer, businesses offer telecommuting or remote work to benefit employees. This way, employees can choose a work environment outside of a typical office environment that is best for their productivity. To learn more about telecommuting, you can decide if this is the right work arrangement for you.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting, also known as working remotely or working from home, is when an employee works outside of the office. Most of the time, the employee works from home, though they can work anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Telecommuting employees may work from a library, coffee shop, or coworking space. Employees with a telecommuting job communicate with their coworkers via phone calls, online messages, virtual meetings, or emails. Occasionally, they may need to meet with their coworkers at the office, though not every telecommuting workplace requires this. In some cases, employers require employees to come to the office a few days a week and telecommute the rest of the time.
Common telecommute jobs
Here are some common telecommute jobs:
- Content writer
- Customer service representative
- Email marketer
- Computer engineer
- Graphic designer
- Health claims analyst
- Online teacher or tutor
- Software developer
- Systems analyst
- UX/UI designer
There are many more jobs in a variety of industries that offer telecommute options.
Advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting.
Working from home can have fewer distractions. Remote employees no longer need to work in a space that could potentially be noisy. They can answer messages in real-time or when they take a break in their work. This helps maintain a more consistent workflow.
Telecommuting employees can also make their work environment exactly how they like it, which can improve job satisfaction and productivity. When working from home, there is no dress code to follow, meaning employees can dress comfortably. Remote employees also do not have to work at a traditional office desk if they prefer to work elsewhere. They may find it more comfortable to switch where they work throughout the day.
Another advantage is that telecommuting employees tend to have more flexibility in their workday. Many remote employers allow employees to start their workday within a flexible timeframe. This makes it easier for an employee to balance their work and home life.
One challenge to working remotely is the possibility of household distractions. A remote employee needs to be self-disciplined and use their time on the clock for work and not personal reasons. They should set aside a quiet space to work that helps them focus.
Another disadvantage is that some people who work from home may miss the benefit of interacting with others in person. That’s why it’s important to connect with coworkers regularly when working remotely. Another solution is choosing to work somewhere outside of the house every so often. Networking events are also a way to feel connected to other professionals in the industry.
How to find a telecommuting job
The following steps can help you find a telecommuting job:
1. First, use keywords in your online search
When looking for remote jobs using a search engine or a job website, use keywords to narrow down your search.
Examples of keywords to search for a telecommuting job:
- Work remotely
- Remote work
- Work from home
You can also search for jobs that may be more likely to have a telecommute option, then search the job description for keywords.
2. Second, learn about companies that hire remote workers
Not every company hires remote employees, so do some research to find out which ones offer a telecommuting work arrangement. Some may allow employees to work from home one or two days a week, which is another factor to consider. Make sure these are reputable employers by checking to see if they have an office address, a social media presence, and online reviews.
3. Third, include telecommuting skills in your resume
When applying to remote jobs, show employers you are responsible enough for the work arrangement.
Examples of skills to include in your resume:
- Computer skills
- Written and verbal communication
- Time management
These skills describe the ability to stay focused and on-task throughout the day.
4. Finally, talk to your current employer about telecommuting
As the demand for remote work increases, employers may offer remote work to stay competitive in the job market. Communicate your interest in working remotely to your employer to see if it could be an option. Many employers give trustworthy employees the option to work remotely, even if it’s one or two days a week.
These tips can help you find your next telecommuting job. Finding the right telecommute job may take extra searching, but it can be worth it when you have more flexibility in your workday.
Tips for asking about telecommuting
Here are some tips for talking to an employer about working from home.
Mention telecommuting options in advance
When applying for jobs, ask employers if working remotely is an option. Some employers may offer remote options when you’ve spent some time with the company and proven you’re trustworthy. Other employers prefer having all employees in the workplace at all times to build a sense of community. By learning your options right away, you can choose a job based on its ability to accommodate your desire to work remotely.
Explain the benefits of remote work
If your employer has never offered the option to telecommute, consider explaining the professional benefits. Explain how you could be more focused on your work and how increased flexibility would improve your job satisfaction.
Research other companies in your area that offer work from home opportunities, and present your findings. You could also describe how you can set up a space that’s dedicated to your work.
Show employers that you are trustworthy
Your employer may use a trial period to decide if they can trust employees to work remotely. If you get this opportunity, show them how productive you are when telecommuting. By being reliable and responding to your coworker’s messages promptly, employers can tell you are staying focused on your work. Also, make an effort to always complete your work on time and ask for more tasks when you’re ready.
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