Over twenty years ago I was fortunate to pilot a program with a fortune 500 company to create work from home job opportunities for people. These employees that I hired were called “telecommuters” which at the time was a new emerging job. At the time there were few people working remotely from their home so back then this was a new idea. Times have changed. Recently Global Workplace Analytics estimates that in 2012 there were 3.3 million Americans who now work from home.
The upside to having people work from home is that there are benefits to both the employee and the employer. The employee does not have to worry about wearing office clothes, where to go for lunch, having to fight rush hour traffic or pay any travel costs such as tolls, fares or gas. On the employer side there is no need to provide a work station, maintain facilities or worry about employee arriving to work late.
Despite how far telecommuting has come there are still old perceptions about working from home. Workers in a office setting are often judged by things completely unrelated to the quality of the work they do. With telecommuters being invisible to an office setting they are prone to being labeled as slackers who play YouTube all day or text instead of work. While this can occur, most managers will tell you it happens all the time in the office setting.
Management is tasked with challenges of supervision for remote telecommuters. Staff meetings are held virtually and the supervisor may have to juggle a few different time zones since telecommuters can live anywhere in the country. Important company announcements cannot be communicated face to face and management must rely on a combination of instant messaging, conference calls or Skype. Meeting one on one with an employee has to be done electronically. When a supervisor has to coach a work at home employee or issue a disciplinary action things get awkward.
Those employees who are fortunate to telecommute must look beyond their surroundings. With technology having stepped up many people can work from home today. But being the master of the castle and doing a job are two very different things from the same location. Working from home is a job. While the commute is much easier, the job still has requirements and deadlines. Trying to do other things such as caring for family member or doing household chores will detract from the work that is expected to be completed. Unexplained mysterious absences during the work day appear as work avoidance from the employer perspective.
The advantages of employees working from home out weigh the drawbacks. Fortunately, remote workers being unseen tend to be judged more often on their actual work quality and quantity and not on unrelated office issues. What more could anyone ask for? So long as the quality and quantity of work is there does it matter if an employee works from home.
Today work from home jobs abound on the internet. But beware. For every one legitimate work from home job there are 70 that are scams. Do your homework carefully. Avoid the work from home job that asks for money. There is a web site called Work At Home Moms that can provide guidance on how to find a legitimate work from home job as well as how to set up a home office. There are numerous legitimate companies such as American Support, Liveops, TeleTech or U-Haul to name a few that offer work from home jobs worth checking out.
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