What Is Telecommuting? (and How Can It Create Flexible Remote Work Setups?)

“Telecommuting” refers to an arrangement between an employer and employee in which the employee completes some or all of their allotted tasks outside of the physical workplace. 

It has never been easier for employees to access the tools they need online, with the rise of remote-work software allowing for collaborative work without requiring an office.

Three main types of telecommuting

The arrangement between employer and employee comes in many forms, varying in formality. There are three main types of telecommuting:

1. Regular telecommuting

This is when the employee works remotely, such as in a home office, every workday or on regularly scheduled work days. They may work onsite part of the time or be required to visit the office for meetings, but a significant portion of their job is done online. 

2. Occasional telecommuting

Occasional telecommuting is sporadic rather than regular. It’s usually requested on a temporary basis by employees working around appointments, mild illness, or personal circumstances. Allowing the option to work from home when necessary gives workers the flexibility to have control and complete work on their own terms. 

3. Temporary or emergency telecommuting

This is when employees work from home during a temporary disruption. If circumstances prevent in-person meetings and operations, the ability to work remotely ensures business continuity. 

GnmclvIGjcUpo5Myx4Zz5fc qcbwwaNUa3H3ikzz1T RoTfEL1jV7IjTotFcsLm5VeUzafBhj2IM5Hin15O5Or2h8LMK5KH6eHx4P6 9sR2W7SKaJ
Free-to-use image sourced from Pixabay

The future of telecommuting

Telecommuting isn’t new. More commonly known now as ‘remote work’, ‘WFH’ (working from home), ‘distributed work’, or ‘smart working’, the term ‘telecommuting’ has been around since the 1970s. It refers to the possibility for workers to do their jobs without coming into the office, made possible by (then-emerging) telecommunications technology. 

Since then, remote solutions have only grown more commonplace. Many people and organizations are now realizing how much they can benefit from working from the comfort of their own homes. 

Increasingly, job seekers are drawn to companies that offer the best options for remote or hybrid work. What was once an obscure arrangement only used in a few industries is now ‘the new normal’. More than that, could telecommuting be the future of modern work setups?

The impetus behind the major increase in telecommuting is the desire for flexibility. Leaving behind traditional office norms, 9-to-5 hours, and daily inconveniences of office life, many employees are seeking a better arrangement. 

With the freedom to arrange hours around their schedules, eat lunch at home, and even take breaks in the day to exercise, there’s no denying that telecommuting has the potential to bring with it a renewed sense of work-life balance for workers. Working from home, individuals can control their lifestyle while still being productive. 

Remote working in all its forms is driving transformations in the workplace. Let us look now at exactly how telecommuting can create flexible remote-work setups, benefiting both employees and organizations. 

Benefits of telecommuting for flexibility 

Setting your own hours 

In most telecommuting arrangements, employers are concerned with the work getting done.  They don’t dictate the whens and wheres. Employees have the flexibility to work during their most productive hours, take healthy breaks when needed, and tend to other areas of their lives, such as household chores, caring responsibilities, personal emergencies, and errands. 

The freedom to have ‘off days’ may also result in less sick days. An employee who wouldn’t feel well enough to commute to the office may miss an entire day of work. A telecommuter, on the other hand, may focus on their health in the morning and still manage an hour of remote work later in the day. 

Photo of a woman holding a small red clock while her laptop is open on a yellow screen reading 'Where good ideas find you'
Free-to-use image sourced from Unsplash

Cut down on commuting

On-site employees have to contend with traffic, public transport delays, and morning chit-chat before they eventually clock in and sit down to work. Travelling to work every day wastes time, as well as contributing to higher carbon footprints and more cars on the roads. 

Remote workers, on the other hand, wake up ready to check for updates on their laptops or smartphones and can begin making task lists ASAP. For maximum efficiency, it’s important to make sure channels of communication work seamlessly. 

Dialpad CA unified communications platform, for example, is an all-in-one virtual workspace which works across multiple locations. There’s no need for employees to travel to the office to access the same state-of-the-art software. 

No more searching for a room 

In-person employees can waste an excessive amount of time looking for available desks, trying to book contact rooms, or chasing down another employee they need to speak to. As mundane as these annoyances are, they add up. 

Why should people commute to work, if they’re going to spend the day on logistical concerns which could have been avoided by working remotely?

Working from home, employees will reliably have a desk to work from. Thanks to technology, bringing people and their schedules together can be done in innovative new ways. Consider Discord Google Calendar Integration, creating visual workflows integrating both calendar events and discord messages. 

For businesses, having employees work from their own desks is especially beneficial. There’s no need to pay rent and stocking fees for an expensive office when workers can more conveniently access resources from home. 

Lower employee expenses 

Employers aren’t the only ones saving money. Telecommuting could also promote financial freedom for employees. Not having to pay for gas, parking, or lunches seems like a small thing, but the savings can be significant. 

Remote employee onboarding

An additional benefit of telecommuting is that it can streamline the onboarding process for new remote employees. Rather than having to schedule time-consuming in-person orientations, remote employee onboarding can be completed online, allowing new employees to get up-to-speed on company policies, procedures, and culture quickly and easily. 

These are just a few ways that telecommuting allows employees to take control of their lives and create a work-life balance which suits them.

NsLNgRGwbS00qPf2FNrFYKAYFlGYoCxStimLKs4T7P266umCmV7iROpYLLzBKftRdJ ip8VN1 9vYcs4GiEjXsPx78SabFJE8oJheyDk6YbrUBHiVkpq7 E0lFPe2vb5IQGAo5PeHEzBzyyHZL0bwYM
Free-to-use image sourced from Pixabay

Fewer distractions 

While distractions may be inevitable, from home, employees will have control over their environment. For many, it’s harder to work while surrounded by noisy coworkers, office chatter, footfall, and watchful bosses. 

Working online, solutions can be found to achieve the same tasks more quickly. For example, do you start every email marketing campaign from scratch, or do you use an email template builder to help speed up the process? Work with technology to work more efficiently, rather than for a longer time. 

Final thoughts 

Overall, the benefits offered by telecommuting should allow the flexibility for employees to work according to their own needs and schedules while still being productive members of the team. This means happy, healthy employees, less turnover, and a more motivated workforce. 

However, telecommuting may not be for everyone. There will inevitably be some challenges. Supporting work-from-home employees involves balance and clearly defined expectations for both employer and worker. 

Set yourself up for success with a comprehensive telecommuting policy, ensuring that employees can still benefit from flexibility while delivering results.

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!