I have been a mental health professional for over 20 years. I provide case management services for people with developmental disabilities.
Pros and Cons of Teleworking
More companies and government agencies have incorporated teleworking as a part of the work culture. Teleworking, also referred to as telecommuting, basically allows employees to work from home and have remote access to the office network. Your desktop or laptop will appear as it does at work. Some employers also provide employees with laptops, cell phones, and tablets to facilitate a more mobile-friendly work environment. Employees also communicate through email and teleconferencing.
Teleworking is viewed as the wave of the future for companies looking to increase production and reduce costs. My job recently started allowing teleworking two days a week. I must say, it has made some of the more difficult aspects of the job a little more tolerable. Teleworking provides so many benefits that even companies with traditional policies are embracing the concept.
Advantages of Working From Home
Teleworking has gained popularity for a reason. Here are some of the pros of working from home.
Saving on Gas/Traffic
Working from home saves money on gas. Teleworking two days per week can save employees hundreds of dollars per year, as well as wear and tear on vehicles.
Teleworking can alleviate some of the hassle of heavy traffic at least a couple of days per week. This is a great option for employees that live the furthest from the central office.
Teleworking provides additional flexibility. Working from home provides a more flexible schedule than the traditional work environment. This is an added advantage for employees with children. Depending on the employer’s policy, employees can obtain remote access to the office network from just about anywhere. Teleworking can be done anywhere from the living room couch or your child’s soccer practice depending on your schedule.
Teleworking “should” decrease the typical distractions incurred in the office setting. If you’re like me, the morning trip to the water cooler or coffee machine often turns into one or two conversations about the weekend, the kids, etc. It also turns into 15 to 20 minutes wasted.
Teleworking can be a significant cost-saving measure for both the employer and the employee. Teleworking can reduce costs in the following ways:
- Teleworking can potentially limit the amount of office space needed for employees.
- More employees working from home should result in a long-term reduction in the amount of energy and resources in the office. There is usually less paper, ink, electricity, and water usage when employees are allowed to work from home.
- As discussed earlier, teleworking saves money for the employees with less gas usage and less wear on vehicles.
Teleworking reduces the need for office space. More office space can be shared when employees are able to work from home.
Offering the option to telework typically results in an overall increase in employee morale. When companies provide additional options, employees tend to be more willing to work a little harder to get the job done.
The ability to complete from anywhere and anytime should naturally increase productivity. Limited excuses for getting stuck in traffic and instant access the network should also increase productivity.
Encourages a Safer Environment
Teleworking can also reduce the number of sick people coming into the office. Workers can have the option to work from home if they are under the weather. This can potentially prevent the spread of illnesses in the office. They can also be productive without using sick leave hours.
Disadvantages of Working of From Home
As with anything, telework comes with disadvantages—especially if you are someone who prefers to speak in person or work around others.
Less Contact With Co-Workers
I have this listed as a disadvantage. However, I guess it really depends on how you feel about your co-workers. Most of the time, we enjoy the company of our co-workers, and teleworking takes away some of the personal contacts we have with colleagues.
Less Access to Office Equipment
Employees don’t have access to all of the equipment at the central office. Depending on the nature of the job, sensitive information should not be faxed or copied on home office equipment.
Employees who telework have to demonstrate a great deal of self-discipline. Teleworking doesn’t mean sitting at home in pajamas, watching television, etc. In order to be successful, employees should prepare as if they are going to the office.
Self-discipline is also needed to maintain a good balance between work and personal life. Although it may be tempting to get up late at night and finish that last report, I would let it go if it’s not due tomorrow. (I’m guilty of this one myself).
Teleworking requires some initial start-up costs. The cost of laptops, cell phones, and other equipment needed for remote access can be really expensive.
We all know there’s always one apple that can spoil the bunch. Companies have to trust that their employees have enough respect for themselves and their co-workers to complete work assignments. Telework days should not be mistaken for free days off or shopping days. They should never be mistaken for days off to work your part-time job. Although employers can utilize GPS and other tracking mechanisms, there is really no way to completely track an employee’s every move.
Telework Can Be Productive and Flexible
As you can see, teleworking has very few negative aspects. It can make life so much easier for employees that live a long distance from the office. However, employers must have a great deal of trust in their employees. More companies will move to telework to increase flexibility and productivity. In addition, teleworking has proven to increase employee morale and job satisfaction.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Martin D Gardner
Martin D Gardner (author) from Virginia Beach on October 28, 2013:
Thanks for your comments and the welcome janshares. I actually get more done at home because I'm one of those who tends to chat at work. I really enjoy it.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on October 28, 2013:
Great article, mdgardner. Well-written, nice presentation, informative for employees and employers. I run my private practice business a couple days a week from home to do administrative work and love the flexibility and other perks like staying in my pjs while I work. My biggest problem is distraction from HP activity and writing. I'm working on those disadvantages. Voted up and useful. Welcome to HubPages.
Martin D Gardner (author) from Virginia Beach on October 12, 2013:
Thanks for the feedback. Yes Self discipline is the key.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 12, 2013:
Thank you for clearly describing the advantages and disadvantages of teleworking. Teleworking is a very attractive idea for me. I'd love to do it, but it's important that I keep the potential problems in mind!