Working From Home: Telecommuting – Does it Work?

Which would you prefer: dressing up and leaving for the office at 7am every day, or brewing a pot of coffee and starting work in your pajamas? Working from home, or telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular in the US workforce. According to the US census, approximately 6.6% of the US workforce telecommutes as of 2010, and Forrester Research predicts that this number will increase to approximately 63 million people by 2016.

So, does it work? Many of Fourlane’s employees work remotely, considering we have offices all over the country, our newest in North Carolina. Fourlane President and CEO Marjorie Adams views telecommuting as a positive entity. She believes telecommuting saves time (employees work more hours without the commute) and money (less overhead expense). There’s less drama within the company and employees value the ability to work from home, so employee security is higher as is employee satisfaction.

The New York Times agrees with Marjorie. It counts proponents of telecommuting as cutting down traffic, reducing real estate costs for companies, and improving “employee morale”. Forbes magazine cites a 13% productivity increase from home workers. And Forbes confirms Marjorie’s suspicion in job satisfaction, with a surprising statistic that 50% of workers who work from home are less likely to leave the company than those who work in office.

Because of the increasing abilities that technology allows us, telecommuting is becoming easier and easier. You can speak to, physically see, and share screens with any of your colleagues, no matter what part of the world either of you are in as long as you have an Internet connection.

So what’s stopping every company from telecommuting A Stanford University study found that 50% of telecommuting employees had a lesser chance of promotion, attributing this fact to the idea of “out of sight, out of mind.” Additionally, increased stress might be an issue for telecommuters, because you’re never truly off the clock. You’re expected to return emails and phone calls ASAP. Relationships are lost this way, and that could affect teamwork. People who work from home may also have a heightened sense of loneliness and depression, because for many people, going to work is their largest form of social interaction. Here at Fourlane we counter this with bi weekly team meetings, department meetings, annual meetings with everyone flying in, and with face time shared at conferences. For most, it’s an easier way of life. A way to get dinner on the table, pick our kids up from school, and essentially be in two places at once – a hard concept to beat.

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