Telecommuting Benefits: Definition and Tips for Telecommuters
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 31 August 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Telecommuting is becoming popular in offices as more employers allow their staff to work from home or other locations. There are many benefits to telecommuting and working from home for both employers and employees. Remote work offers time and money savings, along with greater flexibility to both parties. In this article, we discuss what exactly telecommuting is and how telecommuting benefits both employers and employees.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting is a work arrangement that allows employees to work flexibly from locations other than the office. This typically means working from home, but it also offers you the flexibility to work while travelling or when away from home. Internet access is usually a necessity for remote work, as is contemporary remote working software such as video conference software, email and other tools that can help teams to work together and take advantage of telecommuting benefits.
Telecommuting is often available on a part-time basis, allowing you to work from home a few days a week while retaining core office hours. It can also be offered as a full-time arrangement during which you only need to come into the office for specific meetings or particular occasions. Other terms, such as 'working from home', 'remote working' and 'hybrid working' refer to a similar arrangement.
Related: Q&A: What Is Telecommuting?
Telecommuting benefits for staff and employers
Telecommuting offers benefits to both employers and employees in workplaces that are well-suited to flexible working options. Not only is working remotely becoming quite popular, but it can increase output and productivity at work while simultaneously reducing overheads for employers. Here are some of the biggest telecommuting benefits in the workplace today:
Manage your own schedule
As an employee, remote jobs give you the opportunity to manage your own schedule. Working remotely makes it much easier to achieve a greater work-life balance, enabling you to:
Manage your working life around your family, helping you make time to pick up the kids from school or childcare while still getting everything done for work.
Complete household chores and tidying during breaks throughout the day, rather than having to come home and do chores after work.
Cut down your commute time, freeing up an hour or more per day to exercise or rest.
Work flexibly around your social and personal life, enabling you to work around meeting friends, attending doctor's appointments and other scheduled activities.
Prioritise working at times when your productivity and concentration are at their best, whether that means getting up early or sleeping in.
Increase your productivity and performance
You may believe that your productivity increases when you're working from home because you feel more comfortable and engaged. Often, many staff members find that they have fewer distractions when at home and greater flexibility, meaning that you can work during periods that suit your own habits and preferences. For example, being able to start work later in the morning may improve your productivity if you're someone who's most productive at night.
Promote good health
Employees in telecommuting jobs often enjoy better health compared to their office-based counterparts. Reducing or eradicating the daily commute to and from work frees up time that you can spend on your health, either by walking, running, going to the gym or taking part in sports and other fitness-related hobbies. Greater flexibility at work also means you might find it easier to schedule doctors' appointments when needed and may even take fewer sick days due to improved health.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Introducing remote work can also have a huge impact on a company's carbon footprint. By no longer commuting to work on a daily basis, you would be doing your part to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which has a significant impact on your carbon footprint on an annual basis. A reduced need for office space and office equipment also positively impacts the environment around a company's main headquarters, so you might be enjoying cleaner air on the days when you do go to the office.
Greater motivation and happiness
Along with improving productivity, working from home can boost your motivation to work and happiness. This is likely due in part to the fact that an employer who allows you to work from home implicitly trusts you more, which can have a positive effect on your motivation and sense of value. Your colleagues are also going to be reassured that they can use their judgment to work on having a better work-life balance, which can make them more pleasant to work with than before.
Happier employees also means higher retention rates, with fewer of your colleagues looking elsewhere, partly because they value the flexibility their employers offer them at work. Along with improving retention rates, employers who offer flexible working and telecommuting might also find they're hiring from a larger pool of candidates when it's time to advertise a new position. This might mean you're exposed to working with a greater diversity of people as your employer attracts more talent to their company.
Industries where telecommuting is possible
There's no doubt that telecommuting works better in some industries than others. Manual jobs and those that require a physical presence are obviously not well-suited to remote work. However, many modern office roles can be done just as well from home these days as they can from the office. Administration, marketing and even customer service work can be carried out using a laptop and a few other essentials. As working from home becomes more popular, employers are feeling pressure from staff who want more flexible working options.
Jobs that are suitable for telecommuting include:
Data entry clerks
Related: 13 Essential Work From Home Tips
Tips for telecommuters
If you're starting a new job that allows for flexible working or your existing role is going remote, follow these tips to maximise your productivity when working from home:
Communicate with your co-workers. Keep in touch with your colleagues and managers, checking in throughout the day and ensuring that you're always available via messaging app or video call when someone needs you.
Find a comfortable place to work. Create a space that is just for working. Ensure you have everything you need there, including your computer, paper, pens and keep the area free of clutter and other distractions.
Establish a routine. Work to a schedule that's right for you. Remote working means greater flexibility, but you may find that keeping set hours and sticking to them works better for you.
Monitor your own productivity. Be mindful of your own strengths and weaknesses, and keep an eye on how to maintain high productivity levels throughout the day. If taking regular breaks means you get more work done, then schedule them accordingly.
Tips for introducing telecommuting as a manager
If you're in a managerial position and your employer has asked you to introduce a telecommuting system, this can offer significant advantages to both management and office staff. Follow these tips to ensure that your telecommuting approach allows staff to work effectively:
Establish the rules beforehand. Implement a clear telecommuting policy that applies to everyone. It's important to make sure that everyone understands what is required of them, and that remote working policies are fair, so write up a policy that all employees can follow, including yourself.
Provide the necessary equipment. Ensure that all employees have what they need to work from home successfully. You might need to speak with your employer about covering the cost of laptops and peripherals for staff, in addition to providing everyone involved with a list of the required software to install at home.
Keep in touch with your colleagues. Implement frequent meetings and catch-ups to keep everyone in close communication with each other and ensure that conversation channels remain open in both directions so that staff and managers can contact each other whenever necessary.
Organise socials regularly. Invest time and resources into organising social meet-ups regularly to maintain a sense of teamwork and collaboration among your colleagues, even when they're not working together in the office on a daily basis.
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