Should You Be Allowed To Work From Home? [Infographic]
working parents who must constantly juggle between the competing demands of family and work life. It means moms and dads can be home when kids walk in the door from school or need a quick ride to a game or practice.can be a great perk, especially for
Telecommuting also eliminates the time it takes to drive or otherwise commute to the office, freeing up more time for work and helping to boost productivity.
But it isn't for everyone, and employers need to exercise discretion about whom they choose to let work from home. After all, the amount of work done won't increase if workers are more focused on computer games or chatting online all day.
So what kind of employees does it take to work from home effectively? To be sure, if your job involves managing a building or ensuring its security, chances are you won't be able to telecommute unless you have Superman-like powers.
What's more, if you supervise other employees, it can be a tad difficult to keep tabs on those employees unless they're working in another office anyway. Similarly, if your work requires that you collaborate with coworkers, being away from the office may prove an impediment, although teleconferencing can help bridge some gaps.
One reason telecommuting has become an option for many workers is because so many of us now have PCs or laptops at home. If your job doesn't involve working with a computer, it may lessen your ability to work from home.
You might also be a good candidate for telecommuting if you possess a unique or in-demand skill or talent but don't want to move to the city where the employer is located. Software engineers, for example, may find they can negotiate themselves a handsome salary package and not have to endure the expense or the trouble of relocating.
Beyond mere logistics, there are certain qualities workers need to possess to be able to be counted on to finish their tasks. Workers who need to be closely managed may find it difficult to stay focused, whereas organized and self-motivated employees can generally be counted on to complete their work.
Workers who want to work from home should ask themselves whether they can maintain discipline, says work-life balance expert Eileen McDargh. "It's very easy when you're working at home to get pulled away and you end up cleaning the refrigerator instead of working at the desk."
Wannabe telecommuters may also have to to prove to managers that they can get the job done without being in the office. That's accomplished by providing a detailed plan that notes which projects are to be completed and when.
Still, says McDargh, author of "My Get-Up-and-Go Got Up and Went," working from home does have its tradeoffs, including less socialization with co-workers and a diminished sense of teamwork.
But, she says, "[Working from home] could very well be a very valid way to allow someone to get the job done."
More resources: Ladies Home Journal has an online quiz that can help women determine whether they might be good candidates for working from home.
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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