Career & Education
The Pros & Cons of Telecommuting
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.
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
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.
You risk being complacent
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
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.