I am one of the fortunate 22 million Americans who is able to work from home at least one day a week. My telecommuting schedule began shortly after I started my current job and while I was still commuting about 35 miles (or 90 minutes) one way. I quickly convinced my manager to let me work from home on Fridays, and even after moving just down the street from work, I still enjoy working from home on Fridays. I’m also allowed to work all of my overtime from home, assuming the type of work I’m doing permits it.
My organization’s new president recently advanced the group’s telecommuting initiative. While the real reason for doing so is the sore lack of office space and my organization’s desire to cut property costs, the employees who are able to take part in the program certainly aren’t complaining. In exchange for giving up their office space at work, they’re taking up full-time telecommuting positions. One member of my team recently signed up for the program and was given a vast assortment of office supplies and equipment–including a laptop and laser printer, equipment us work-in-office folks don’t even get. She’ll now enjoy all the perks of telecommuting, including:
- No commute.
- No need for pants! (This is a big plus for me.)
- Nobody walking into your office every three minutes while you’re trying to get work done.
- A view of your choice. (I love working from the porch.)
- Greater schedule flexibility.
Since I can perform my job equally well (and perhaps a little better) from home as I can from in the office, you would think I’d jump at the chance to switch to full-time telecommuting. But there are a few negative sides to telecommuting that would keep me from wanting to take it up full time in my current position:
- Distractions. While I’m generally pretty good at ignoring distractions when I do work from home, doing so all the time might hinder my ability to continue to ignore them.
- Can’t just walk into someone else’s office. The face-to-face interaction I have with my co-workers is something I value deeply. Being able to talk with them in person on a regular basis is not something I’d like to give up.
- Food. At work, I bring a lunch. When it’s gone, I don’t eat again until dinnertime. At home, if I finish eating my lunch, I can just go to the fridge and make myself another if I really want to. In short, telecommuting would make me fat.
Feel free to share your thoughts on telecommuting. Are you a regular telecommuter? If you had the option available, would you want to try it?