Many employees today have found a way to skip the drive to work and still earn a decent income by working as a telecommuter. Technology has allowed companies to be a bit more flexible about the standard office hours or abandon the office altogether. Telecommuting may seem a bit extreme but the concept is steadily rising in popularity.

What is Telecommuting?

A telecommuter is an employee that has an arrangement with their employer that allows them to work from home. Some positions are completely remote and only require the employee to have a computer and phone to complete the necessary tasks outside of the office. Other jobs only require their employees to travel to the office for meetings or special tasks. More and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely in an effort to be more eco-friendly and to save money among many other different reasons.

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Benefits of Telecommuting

For employers, allowing their staff to telecommute reduces the cost of their real estate because they no longer need to pay for the extra workspace. According to Forbes, several companies have already reduced their carbon footprint and saved millions of gallons of gas by allowing their employees to telecommute. This workplace flexibility also allows companies to hire and retain top-quality employees from different time zones.

Employees also benefit from these types of arrangements because they get the option to choose their working environment. Whether they work from their couch, a library, or coffee shop, they can be comfortable and have the freedom to move about as they please. Many companies have reported that it’s common for employees to be happier and more productive when they have this type of flexibility. Happy employees are more likely to stay with a company long-term, which could decrease overall turnover rates.

Disadvantages of Telecommuting

Although working from home seems like a win for all parties involved, not all employees are capable of taking advantage of this arrangement. Advancements in technology have made communication easier than ever before but some things just can’t be done through a phone or computer. Companies have to assess their employees and their duties to make sure that it’s possible to work remotely. Some tasks simply require the worker to be present in order to be completed successfully.

Because working remotely can come with many distractions, companies have to make sure that the employee is both independent and self-motivated enough to be productive outside of the office. If the employee is not very good with frequently checking their messages or general time management, they may not be as reliable as they might’ve been in an office setting. Employees may also get lonely without face-to-face interactions in the office and they may struggle to build relationships with their coworkers.

Telecommuting isn’t for everyone but it can be quite effective when done properly. With the necessary materials and communication skills, mobile work could be even more effective than having a person in the office. Be sure to take all of these factors into consideration before hiring or becoming a telecommuter.