Telecommuting remains important

It wasn't so long ago that many people in major cities got up in the morning and went to work by train, car or bus, a routine commonly known as commuting.

Nowadays, there are increasing numbers of employees who, for a variety of reasons, choose to work at home and send or deliver their work to their manager through email or some other electronic means.

Such people are called telecommuters, and they have revolutionised the way that office work is done.

These employees tend to be those whose job is often solitary, for example, designers, architects, and various kinds of writers and editors, although other workers can also engage in telecommuting, for example, members of a telephone sales team.

Indeed, because of the sheer diversity of modern business, more and more companies are appreciating the benefits of employing people to work from home.

Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking of working from home.

Pros and cons

Along with reduced costs, there are many advantages of telecommuting, including the flexibility to work your own hours. This is also known as flexi-time, and it means that if you are a mother, you can take time off work to pick up your children from school and also take an hour off to do some grocery shopping.

The downside, of course, is that if you have young children at home, they will take up some of your time and attention when you are trying to work.

Equally, there are many who miss the atmosphere of working in an office and find it lonely working away from other people.

The lack of social interaction and sense of team spirit can also affect an employees' output and can reduce their productivity because of it.

What all this means is that it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to do this kind of work. Therefore, it is not for everybody.

Telephone skills

As there is a range of jobs that are suitable for execution by using this method, it follows that there is a variety of skills that can be utilised.

For example, if you are part of a sales team making calls from home to drum up business for your company, you will need to have good telephone skills.

This is because you will be responsible for booking appointments with potential clients through networking, chasing up cold and warm leads, and carrying out telephone cold calling.

Possible language for this could be the following: "Good morning, this is Supatra from PTS Enterprises. I'm calling to ask whether you would like to meet with one of our representatives to learn about our new range of exciting and economical products."

Because all that is needed is a phone and some training, this form of telecommuting is arguably the most common nowadays, especially in places like India and in other emerging economies.

Other skills

Equally, if you are a designer, you will need good organisational and writing skills and also the ability to use electronic media like faxes and email to communicate with your company.

Just as important, whether you are a writer, editor or an architect working from home, you will need to have good time-management skills and be able to meet important deadlines.

Similarly, the ability to solve problems alone is an asset prized by many employers as managers don't normally have time to spend on the telephone to telecommuters explaining every detail of what's required of their telecommuting employees.

All in all, because of the global nature of today's businesses, and the ever-increasing need to cut costs wherever possible, it is clear that telecommuting is here to stay.

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About the author

Writer: Thomas Tuohy
Position: Writer