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By Sarah Stafford

10 pros and cons of telecommuting

Tired of the office and dreaming of working from home? You begin investigating LinkedIn and Indeed, and you find a position where you can telecommute. Finally, you get the chance to work from your nice, quiet home office, where you don’t have to deal with rude Janice from the accounting department, and don’t have to listen to your coworker in the neighboring cube clipping his fingernails. While there are many benefits of telecommuting, the flexible setting does come with some drawbacks.

Here are a few pros and cons so you can decide if telecommuting is right for you.

Pros of telecommuting:

1. Increased flexibility

This benefit really depends on what type of job you have that allows telecommuting. However, most work at home jobs allow you to make your own schedule and work whenever time allows. If you happen to snag a flexible work from home job, feel free to do a load of laundry in the middle of the day, catch up on work at 11 p.m., or even take a trip to the grocery store because you can.

2. Less commuting

No more trips to the office! Instead of spending two hours commuting to and from the office, you can spend that time catching up on assignments. Less work and more play.

3. Save money

Less commuting means less wear-and-tear on your vehicle. Save on car repairs and maintenance by reducing commutes.

4. Increased productivity

Work from home employees report being sick less often and take fewer breaks.

Cons of telecommuting:

1. Employee isolation

Less interaction with coworkers, supervisors and clients.

2. Less work-life balance

Without boundaries between work and home, employees often find themselves always on the clock.

3. Distractions from home

You may find that you actually have more distractions at home than you do in the office. Errands, household chores and visitors may interrupt your day more frequently.

4. Technology issues

Without your computer and an IT team, your productivity may come to a halt when you have a technical glitch.

Only you can decide if telecommuting is right for, or if you’re interested in presenting the concept to your employers, here are a few policy recommendations for work from home employees.

Establish clear objectives and goals

Often working from home gets a bad rep because employees can become less engaged. Without a set routine or direction from a superior, an employee can lose focus and become less productive. The employee may feel like they don’t have enough to do, and the employer may feel like they’re not doing enough. So balance is needed from both parties. If management establishes clear directions and assignments, then employees will remain productive no matter where they are.

Consult with HR

Ask your human resources management to establish a written agreement underlying expectations of both the employee and the supervisor. Firstly, it should be noted how to measure the employee’s productivity. One way to do this is to measure via deadlines and quality of work. Deadlines should be agreed upon by both the employee and the supervisor.

Overall, constant communication is needed to keep work from home employees engaged and productive. Ensure that everyone is on board and establish clear policies for all parties to follow. Furthermore, working from home requires a great amount of discipline to keep yourself on deadline, on topic and in your employer’s good graces. In conclusion, it’s not for everybody, but if you think this is for you, it can hold the potential for a vast amount of benefits.

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