The rapid evolution and development of technology means that working options that were once deemed impossible or unlikely to work well have started to be reevaluated. Take telecommuting for instance; our knowledge and ability to work digitally nowadays, not to mention the ease of digital communication, has led many employers and workers to see the benefits of telecommuting for both the company and the individual. Of course, telecommuting has its advantages and disadvantages. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of telecommuting.
Workers are generally willing to give an employer as much time as he/she pays them for. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re maximizing productivity during that time. Think about the following scenario: your boss tells you on Monday morning that you can have the rest of the week off, as soon as you finish your assigned working tasks for the week. What are the chances that you somehow manage to complete a week’s worth of work in just a couple of days?
Those who work full time know each week that they’re going to be in the office from at least 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, regardless of how fast they complete their work, which results in work getting dragged out over the working week. There’s little incentive to finish early as it will likely result in being given additional tasks to fill the remainder of the time. This means that the working week is not only filled with work, but also with unproductive time too, such as chatting with co-workers, reading personal emails, surfing the Web, smoking breaks and long lunches to name a few.
Whilst telecommuting is not without potential work distractions, as a worker, you’re much more likely to get the job done as soon as possible which means you’re maximising performance.
Improved Work/Life Balance
Telecommuting gets rid of the commute to work altogether. Just think about how much time you could save each day simply by not having to sit in traffic or take the tube to work. Now imagine how much work you could be doing instead during that saved time. It’s very likely that you’d manage to get a whole day’s worth of work done, and maybe more, and still be finished earlier than the time you’d normally arrive home.
This extra time is then yours for the taking. You can choose to do whatever you like to fill it, whether that’s even more work so that you can have a couple of days extra free towards the end of the week, or just spending time with friends and family.
What’s more, you’re not forced to work during the specified 9am to 5pm either. One of the greatest advantages of telecommuting is that you can structure your work around your life, which can be invaluable to those with young children. If you prefer to work early in the morning, you could be finished by lunchtime, which means you have the rest of the day to meet up with friends, play with your kids, or catch up on some you time.
Loss of Routine
While having a better work/life balance may sound idyllic to some, for others it can be a complete nightmare. Some people need the motivation to work productively, and having no established routine, or worse, having once had it with a regular job and then losing it through telecommuting can be potentially hazardous.
This loss of routine may cause you to work more slowly, which turn leads to you having even less free time. Alternatively, it may mean you lack any such motivation to work and spend all of your day surfing the Web, watching TV, or hanging out with your friends.
Lack of Interaction with Colleagues
Some individuals will relish the fact that telecommuting removes the need to socialize with work colleagues and means that you don’t suffer any extra stress being put on you by interruptions, constant meetings and information overload. However for others, the lack of social interaction with colleagues can leave them feeling lost and very alone.
It’s only natural to want to take a short break from work every now and then and have a laugh with one of your colleagues but if you’re telecommuting, you may be alone in your home whilst you’re working. Lack of interaction can cause some to become withdrawn and feel uncomfortable in other social situations.
As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting, and really, it all comes down to individual choice and preference. If you feel telecommuting may work for you, you could approach your employer and find out what options are available.
This blog post was contributed by Carl Smith. He has a passion for writing and the development of startups. He keeps on top of technological advances that ease the running of a business but believes there are certain methods which require old school methods, like using Parcel2Go.com worldwide delivery services for a global reach.
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