Working virtually or “telecommuting” from a home office or coffee shop is a growing phenomenon in the workplace.
And when the distance between coworkers spans cities, countries, or even entire continents, telecommunication can be an absolute must for maximum productivity.
In recent years, the increased use of social networking websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus provide a variety of new communication tools, and in some cases effectively supplements e-mail as a way of workplace communication. Virtual and audio-telecommuting services have made long-distance conferences and interviews something of a breeze.
But the convenience of today’s communication methods is not without challenges. For starters, a lack of face-to-face interaction will always present problems in issues of context and clarity.
One of the biggest problems are the numerous online distractions lying in wait. It’s quite easy to waste hours of time exploring Facebook or Twitter while a project lies minimized in the background waiting to be finished.
Is telecommuting a good idea for you? Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of switching to a telecommuting job:
In other words, how are you most productive? If your work style thrives on the hustle, pressure and the collaborative nature of an office environment, telecommuting might not be for you. However, if you work best in a quiet setting, are not a morning person, or have responsibilities around the house that need your attention during the day, connecting to the workplace from home may be a desirable choice.
If your physical presence is absolutely essential at work, then telecommuting full-time may not be an option at all. Creative jobs such as writing and designing are better suited for the telecommuting arena, as they are generally the most independent. If all you need is a computer and internet access, telecommuting should be much more feasible.
Unlike your unique work style, your schedule is often based around obligations, not preferences. If you have kids in school or a non-work endeavor that requires constant, daily attention, telecommunication could be beneficial. On the other hand, if you are a chronic procrastinator, it may not be wise to put yourself in a position where you’re not subject to a time clock set by a manager or co-workers.
Telecommuting may not be for everyone, but for those with the right level of discipline and the right type of job, it often proves to be a highly effective method for increasing your personal productivity.