What Is Telecommuting

37

Many companies and individuals prefer to work from home because it allows them more freedom. The flexibility of working at home enables people to pursue their passions and pursue a career that they enjoy. A Telecommuter is someone who telecommutes from their home office. What exactly is telecommuting? Telecommuting refers to the arrangement in which an individual works from his or her own home office.

Telecommuting, also known as remote working, remote work, teleworking, independent working, or telecommuter, is a job arrangement in which an employee doesn’t commute to and from an establishment’s location. Typical telecommuter arrangements in the United States include an employee who works from home being paid an hourly wage, either directly by the employer or indirectly through an employer’s payroll processing software program. This arrangement may include telecommuting for part-time workers. It may also include a telecommuter who works full-time from a home office.

The advantages of telecommuting are obvious. For one, an employee can set his or her own schedule. An employee may be available to work late evening or early morning and can complete projects and assignments whenever it is most convenient for him or her. There is no need to depend on the company when it comes to starting and finishing work. In addition, with telecommuting an employee can cut costs related to commuting.

There are several disadvantages to telecommuting jobs. One of these disadvantages is the potential for discrimination. Many businesses and organizations disallow telecommuting to employees, either because they view telecommuting as lower-quality work-related activity or as a potential nuisance. Some companies do allow telecommuters to work from home but require them to have their own work area. Work-from-home telecommuters are sometimes passed over for higher paid employees in fear that they will slack off or take less seriously the work they perform. In some cases, companies require telecommuters to take extensive training courses or make extensive modifications to their work environment to accommodate a telecommuter’s needs.

Another disadvantage to telecommuting is the difficulty of obtaining insurance and worker’s compensation coverage for telecommuters. Some companies and positions may not offer insurance or a company benefits package to its telecommuters. Employees may have difficulty locating a company that provides a sufficient benefits package or that offers adequate insurance. Some telecommuters also find difficulty in collecting the appropriate amount of federal or state taxes for themselves or their families. A few states have made it easier to determine whether an employee has provided sufficient federal income tax for himself or herself by adopting a standard formula for determining income tax liability.

One of the main drawbacks to telecommuting is the lack of time flexibility that it affords an employee. If a business requires the use of a vehicle for business purposes, commuting time may be required. It is difficult to predict how many hours a day a person will be available to commute to and from work. A person who regularly works eight hours or more in a week might not be able to schedule his or her own work schedule around the demands of his or her job. A work-life balance may become difficult.

Some employers have adopted telecommuting as a convenient “on-site” option to traditional on-site businesses. This type of telecommuting has come under increased criticism, however, as employees have complained about poor work conditions, unreasonable workloads, as well as a lack of benefits such as paid sick leave and vacation time. Furthermore, some companies have discovered problems associated with telecommuting due to employee mismanagement or lack of supervision. A recent article in the New York Times described several incidents in which workers were exposed to harmful chemicals during telecommuting.

There are some positive aspects to telecommuting that can benefit both employees and employers. The most obvious is that there is a reduction in commuting expenses as well as the time needed to commute to and from an office. Another advantage is that telecommuting allows an individual to be self-employed and work from virtually anywhere. There are, however, some potential disadvantages to telecommuting as well.