Telecommuting is an increasingly common work arrangement. It’s also called remote work, virtual job, or a “virtual office” and involves an employee working outside of the company’s brick-and-mortar offices using telecommunication technologies to keep in touch with teammates, clients and customers.

Some jobs are better suited for telecommuting than others. Knowledge workers, for example, are well-suited to the flexibility that telecommuting offers. They can complete assignments and communicate with coworkers, managers and clients through email, messaging, phone, video apps and other technology. Other jobs, however, are better suited to the office environment, such as customer service positions that require frequent face-to-face interaction with clients.

In addition to the flexibility that telecommuting provides, it can offer other benefits for employees and employers alike. For instance, employees can save on commute costs and expenses, such as lunches, while employers can cut costs related to office space, equipment, utilities and perks like free WiFi and phones. Some companies have even reported a reduction in employee turnover when they offer telecommuting options.

The flexibility that telecommuting offers can also help employees to find a more stable work-life balance. It can also allow workers to work more efficiently, as they aren’t distracted by meetings, idle chatter and other workplace annoyances. It can also make it easier for employees to fit their work into the times of day when they are most productive.

Disadvantages of Telecommuting

Some people have trouble focusing at home and can become easily distracted by family, pets, TV, social media or other things in their homes. Additionally, some people find it hard to switch off work when they are at home, which can impact their productivity. People who are prone to procrastination or are workaholics may also struggle to find a healthy balance between working from home and other responsibilities.

Aside from these challenges, there are also some technological issues that can arise when telecommuting. It’s important for all team members to have reliable telecommunication technologies, including high-speed Internet connections and mobile devices with good data coverage. Teams should also ensure that they have inclusive video conferencing tools in place so that remote teammates can stay connected with their colleagues.

Ultimately, the decision to telecommute should be carefully considered by both employees and employers. It’s a great option for many, but not everyone is suited to it, so employees should weigh the pros and cons carefully before making the choice. Likewise, employers should make sure they are prepared to support their telecommuting employees by creating an effective framework and communicating expectations clearly. By implementing strategies such as daily one-on-one meetings and team activities that are based on location, employees can feel supported and able to work successfully from home.