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Career

The Pros & Cons of Telecommuting

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Working from home is a boon for many. Or is it? Well, there are two sides to every coin. While there are some undeniable advantages of working from home. Skeptics still believe that the negatives associated with it outweigh the benefits. In actuality, there are some pros and cons of telecommuting, some of which you will discover here. 

One of the first major decision that Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer took after taking over the mantle was banning telecommuting for its entire workforce. The decision stirred up a lot of controversy in the business world and there were probably innumerable commentaries on the web with people taking sides on the judgment. However, this article isn’t about taking sides. It takes a holistic view of the whole situation and leaves the final decision to the better wisdom of the readers.

The Good

You get all the flexibility in the world

Telecommuting is essentially about having a flexible working schedule. You do have a final deadline to submit a project, but that’s just about it. Whether it is the wee hours of the day you chose to work or in the middle of the noon, that’s no one’s concern, as long as you deliver the project within the prescribed deadline. You can plan your day as you wish, run your daily errands and be there for other activities. Freedom gets a new meaning while working from home.

You are your own boss

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If you feel stifled under the constant glare of your manager, work from home is just what the doctor ordered. You decide the time of the day you want to work, the way you want to work and even the dress in which you want to work. In short, you are your own boss.

You save time and money

According to the U.S Census Bureau, the average travel time to work in the United States is approximately 30 minutes a day. Simple math will reveal that this time is equivalent to 182 hours a year and considering an average human works for at least 25 years of his life, the time spent by an average office-goer in a lifetime is 4562.5 hours. That’s a huge amount. By telecommuting, you can save all these hours and put them to some constructive use. Time is not the only saving here; you also save a considerable amount of money that office-bound coworkers might spend in traveling, food, and other logistics.

Employers save money

The notion that telecommuting is beneficial only for workers is misplaced. A research from Telework Research Network revealed that companies could save around $6500 annually per employee. The same study found out employers in the United States can save $31 billion in reduced employee turnover, as work from home tends to make workers happier, healthier and less stressed as compared to professionals who have to travel to office daily. We also know from similar studies that those who work from home more often than not put in longer hours and are more productive. This represents a win-win situation for both the employee, and the employer.

The Bad

You risk being complacent

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Being at home, surrounded by so many conveniences, which can easily be termed as distractions, you will need insane amount of self-motivation to focus on your work. Without the threat of a boss who can hold you accountable for occasions such as Facebooking or window-shopping on e-commerce sites, it can take a huge dose of discipline to stay focused.   There are times when procrastination can get better of you and lead you in situations which harm your professional work.

You work in silos

Working in isolation can mean reduced efficiency, productivity, dearth of new ideas and deviating from the main objectives. That’s one of the major reasons that Yahoo CEO gave while justifying its blanket ban on telecommuting. This is a physiologically proven phenomenon that employees who collaborate with other team members have a better mindset and operational efficiency than those who prefer working in silos. When people take the effort to communicate with each other in a collaborative work environment there is a free flow of information that ensures that all aspects of the company function effectively.

You risk stagnating your career

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Career growth is an important aspect of life of every self-respecting individual. When you work from home for elongated periods of time, your future manager might just take it against you owing to his antiquated way of thinking. There is still some time before telecommuting becomes a norm. Currently it’s just an exception and most recruiters do not have favorable attitude towards such exceptions.

While there are both sides to working from home, the bigger picture is about doing what is right for your career. Many professionals prefer applying to jobs that provide telecommuting facilities while others are not so choosy. It all depends on your preferences and how flexible you can be. Besides there are a number of companies that still offer work from home as an incentive. You only have to seek out them.

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  • Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.

    I would love to telecommute some days. Some days, I wish I could sit on my couch and work from the comfort of my home. As a teacher, though, that’s not always possible. Though they’ve opened up SOME telecommuting positions, I feel as though my specific field (of being a teacher for students with learning disabilities) is something that I actually need to be present for.

  • Tara

    Not sure if I could ever really Telecommute maybe sometimes, but I would like to be busy and get up moving with a job rather than just sit down what I am kinda doing now with babysitting helping with a friend but more of at night since she is an RN and she works crazy hours.

  • andreajesus10

    All those years that I worked for Chase – there were many days that I wished I could have telecommmuted

  • I work from home a few days a week so I can totally relate to these pros and cons!

  • You also don’t need to worry about the weather conditions

  • Imaobong Asuquo

    It sure has it’s fair share of both advantages and disadvantages so I think it all boils down to commitment and discipline and the right balance.

  • Briana Marie

    There’s definitely a fair share of pros and cons when it comes to working from home but ultimately I prefer it. Especially when the weather is like it is now. Lol.

  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    I love working from home when I can but yes it can get lonely. It would be nice to have a gathering every few months.

  • This would be nice to work at home. I personally would prefer not to work with others much since I’m an introvert. However, I know a lot of telemarketers get yelled at when they call so I would not like that part.

  • Jacqui Odell

    I love working at home. It does have some cons, but I think the pros out-way it.

  • I love telecommuting despite a few minor downsides. I feel like I not only saved time and money from not commuting I also improved my health. Not having to face the stress and danger of traffic everyday probably added years to my life.

  • everythingcurvyandchic

    I work from home but could never do this

  • I love work from home options with occasional visiting office.That works best for me.
    Great post.

  • Ana Ojha

    Working from home has both its pros and cons! I find it difficult to balance my work and life these days. Counting on holidays to take a nice break!

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