Last week’s article highlighted some of the benefits of teleworking. Because of the environmental benefits and flexible schedule, more employees find the concept appealing. Before you think about teleworking, consider:
Does my employer have a telework program?
If your employer has a program, you’re lucky. If there is no official telework program, it doesn’t mean your employer won’t consider it. In fact, some of your coworkers may already telework. Working from home on special projects or while trying to meet a deadline is not uncommon. Research the possibility before approaching your boss.
Can my job duties be performed away from a traditional work site?
If so, how? What technology would be necessary? Teleworking isn’t an option if your job (such as a waiter or security guard) requires you to be physically present at all times.
Do I have the experience and skill to work on my own?
You may be a strong candidate for telework if you have a proven attendance record, strong work ethic, and are able to work independently.
Do I require direct supervision?
What motivates you to get your work done? Teleworking employees occasionally meet face-to-face with their supervisor, but phone, email, instant messaging, and teleconferencing are often the main methods of communication. While very effective for some, these methods may not have be effective for those who require face-to-face supervision.
Would I miss social aspects of the job (seeing coworkers)?
Do you enjoy working directly with others? Do you interact with coworkers in the break room? Do you form friendships with coworkers? Teleworking can be lonely.
How would customers, clients, and coworkers be affected?
Face-to-face interaction builds customer relationships and loyalty. However, many workers never need to physically meet with clients. Keep in mind that your coworkers will be affected if you work off-site. They will have to rely on electronic communication, which can be frustrating.
Do I have space at home I can dedicate to work?
You need a space, preferably a room with a door, dedicated to work. Is your home quiet? Have you made child care arrangements?
Who supplies necessary equipment?
Who will pay for work-related equipment such as a computer, Internet connection, fax machine, printer, additional phone line, and even a desk and proper chair? Would you take on those costs in exchange for the flexibility of teleworking?