Technology has and continues to improve our lives in ways that many may not have ever imagined. Â From wearable technology to laser keyboards, we are living in an era of once unimaginable technological advancements. Â The benefits of theseÂ advancements have made everyday life easier at home and, of course, at work. Â But when you put these two together you get something that many of us are even more thankful for…the joy of telecommuting…or as some would call it….working from home!Â With advancements in technology such as wireless internet, mobile devices, and online meeting software the need to go into an office to work is becoming less of a necessity in many industries. Â I recently attended a presentation on telecommuting where some interesting facts and statistics were shown on this topic. Â There are definitely benefits for the employers and employees who participate in telecommuting. Â As an employer, savings can be realized in areas such as company operating costs (decreased usage of office utilities, printers, kitchen areas, etc.). Â One telecommuting article I read on the US News site Â even pointed out benefits such as more productivity and commitment from telecommuting employees. Â Many telecommuters tend to work extra hours due to the conveniences of not having to commute to work and deal with frustrating traffic. Â I can speak to this from my own experience with telecommuting. Â Rarely have I ever stopped working right at 4:00 (the time I usually left the office) when I worked from home. Â I’d easily work an extra 30 minutes to an hour or longer without even realizing it. Â I also found that I’d more likely stay logged in or log back into the network later in the evening when telecommuting as opposed to when I had worked in the office all day. Â Telecommuters may also experience decreased levels of stress and, based on studies done by Penn State as mentioned in the linked article, increased job satisfaction, performance, and overall life satisfaction.
There are still many companies, including technology giants like Apple and Google, who do not view telecommuting so favorably. Â Apple has been stated as saying that telecommuting is an unnecessary risk while Google actually provides perks such as free meals to entice employees to work in the office. Â Other employersÂ simply prefer to have employees in the office where they can see facial expressions, feel energy, and monitor employees more closely. Â But even with this push back from many companies, technological advancements still make it convenient to work from home at least part of the time, which is necessary for many. Â Some of the telecommuting tools that have worked well for meÂ include:
- Skype (videoconferencing…including a job interview!)
- Webex (great for hosting and attending online meetings)
- GmailÂ (no explanation needed)
- Google docs/Google drive (allows me to create and access stored projects and business-standard documents from anywhere I can get an internet connection…cloud-based app)
- Evernote (I use this to mainly manage my blog…I can access it from my laptop and mobile devices as well as use it to share content with others…great mini-project management tool)
- Â Mobile hotspot (allows me to access WIFI for my tablet when away from home)
- Tablet (no explanation needed)
- Smartphone (no explanation needed)
As someone who plans to telecommute at least part of the time for the rest of my career, I’m constantly looking for new telecommuting technology. Â Who knows where we’ll be in the next 5-10 years in terms of telecommuting. Â With the continuous development of new tools and mobile technology the sky truly is the limit for this concept of working.