Is telecommuting right for you?

Photo courtesy of http://kachingforyou.com

Photo courtesy of http://kachingforyou.com

As the world population, technology (like TDS’ managedIP Hosted), and telecommunication industry continues to increase, the paradigm shift for a more flexible work environment only makes sense. Often times it’s per request of the employee. Other times it is the employer that feels the need to offer telecommuting as a means to cut back on overhead costs. Many of the perks to working remotely are obvious – a more relaxed atmosphere for the employee and lower costs for the company. There are, however, some not-so-obvious pros and cons that should be evaluated by employees to decide if telecommuting is in their best interest.

Pros:

Telecommuters save money when working from home. In addition to saving an annual average of 260 hours on the road, the amount of money that can be saved per telecommuter is astounding. According to Salary.com, people who work from home full time can enjoy the following annual cost savings:

  • Gas – $1,120
  • Car maintenance – $312
  • Dry Cleaning – $600 – $1,000
  • Lunches & Coffee – $832
  • Professional Wardrobe – $590
  • Tax Breaks – $750

Telecommuters take less sick days. This is an interesting statistic because it can be viewed in different ways. Could it be the fact that telecommuters experience lower stress levels and less personal interaction, therefore decreasing the frequency of illness? Or could it be that telecommuters are less likely to call in sick because passing their illness to co-workers is a non-issue? Whatever the case, this fact certainly is a positive aspect for telecommuters and employers alike, and lends credence to the fact that telecommuting increases productivity.

Telecommuting benefits the environment in that there is a major reduction in air pollution and fuel consumption as a result of fewer cars on the road. Greenhouse gas emissions are comprised of harmful toxins, and according to the American Consumer, personal vehicles cause half of the gas emissions.

Telecommuting gives people more employment options because they’re not geographically confined. It is not uncommon these days for freelancers to take on projects for companies on the other side of the world. Job seekers can pretty much eliminate the ‘location’ criteria when searching for telecommuting jobs online, as the geographical location of the company should be a non-issue.

Cons:

If you’re extroverted, telecommuting may not be well suited for you. People who feel the need to have face-to-face communications may feel a tad alienated working outside of the traditional office setting. One recommendation is to find communities and/or hobbies that don’t revolve around your current company. Meetup.com can be a great way of connecting with local people that have similar interests.

Another challenge for some people is not being able to separate workspace from their home. As a result, they may not feel totally at peace during non-working times. Some people may not deal well with ‘too much flexibility’ and need more of a traditional work structure.

Thoughts? Is telecommuting right for you? You can leave a comment below or you can reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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About Pete Metz

Pete Metz is the owner of SkipTheDrive - a job site specializing in telecommuting and remote jobs for people looking to work from home. After moving from Michigan to Ohio in 2009, Pete was given the opportunity to keep his job with his company (based in Michigan) while working remotely in Ohio. Once Pete got a taste for the work-from-home paradigm, he was hooked! Pete can be followed on Twitter and Google+.

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