What is Telecommuting?
Work from home. Work from anywhere. Remote work. Telework. Virtual work. These are terms that all refer to the same concept: telecommuting. So, what is it exactly? Telecommuting is an umbrella term describing an arrangement involving working from a location outside the office, such as a co-working space, library, coffee shop, or home.
Without the necessary technology, communication, and collaboration software tools, telecommuting would be impossible. These essential technologies include:
- A workspace
- Internet connection
- Video conferencing software
- Emails and instant messaging
- Collaborative workspaces and project management tools
Levels of telecommuting
Telecommuting can be on a full-time basis, only on agreed days, or on specific unavoidable circumstances — just like a typical office job. There are four distinct levels of telecommuting.
- 100% telecommuting: This option covers jobs that are entirely remote and virtual. To have a 100% telecommuting job, you may work at a remote-first organization, as a freelancer, or as a member of a distributed team with a steady stream of projects.
- Majorly telecommuting: For this option, you can choose to work from anywhere most days, but you’d still need to spend some time in the office. This may be on agreed recurring dates or only in exceptional circumstances.
- Some telecommuting: This option entails working at the office most times and working remotely on approved days.
- Option for -: Unlike the options above, working away from the office is only an option here. Employees under this option must talk to their managers or leaders to agree on a remote work agreement that suits their role and needs.
However, as telecommuting becomes the norm, even in a post-pandemic world, specific job roles still require physical presence. Some of these roles that are incompatible with telecommuting include security guards, healthcare workers, transportation, and construction workers.
On the other hand, some of the best telecommuting roles include accountants, programmers, content writers, graphic designers, and customer service representatives.
According to one 2017 report, telecommuting in the US has seen a 115% increase in the past decade. Most reports reveal that organizations will need to invest in practical long term telecommuting foundations to train and upskill employees to be efficient when working away from the office.
Although telecommuting is undergoing unpredictable changes, innovation, and pressure worldwide, there is no doubt its numerous benefits to the global workforce will make it a significant part of the future of work.
Telecommuting is here to stay, and adopting organizations and remote work arrangements to empower the employees to do their best work should be top of mind for innovative business leaders and managers.