Pros and cons of telecommuting

telecommuting The company I work for, Questionmark, is a big believer in telecommuting. As a result, I work from home usually two days a week. We were talking about it in the office this week, and this article in the New York Times made me think about it again recently:

Gasoline has become the new workplace perk, as employers scramble to help workers cut its use and cost. A dollar a gallon ago, things like telecommuting, shortened workweeks and Internet subsidies were ways of saving time and providing workers with a little more balance in their lives. Now they have become ways to save money and to keep workers from, well, walking.

Saving money on gas is definitely a good thing about telecommuting. Not everything about it is positive though. Here are some pros and cons for me.

Pros:

  • I save money on gas, likely extend the life of my vehicle, and get to avoid traffic headaches.
  • Rolling out of bed and turning on the computer is great. No need to rush around and get ready! This also helps with really early morning meetings.
  • If I need to run a quick errand, it’s easy to do so.
  • Often there are less distractions, and I can really focus on something.

Cons:

  • It’s really easy to eat too much. With the kitchen a few steps away, I find myself snacking more than I would in the office.
  • No air conditioning in my apartment…when it’s 30 degrees outside, the A/C in the office is definitely nice.
  • Sometimes to solve a problem you simply need to talk to someone else in person.
  • Technology isn’t perfect, and sometimes the VOIP phones fail or for whatever reason I can’t connect to something I need.

You can read more about telecommuting at Wikipedia.

Another popular trend is the shortened work week, where you work four ten hour days instead of five. That would definitely save money on the commute too, but again would have pros and cons.

Seems to me that the standard 9 to 5, five day work week is becoming a bit antiquated. At the very least, more and more organizations are comfortable experimenting with alternate schedules and ways of working.

3 thoughts on “Pros and cons of telecommuting

  1. When I was still with Nexopia the basic rule was you needed to show up before 11. Of course it was broken pretty often and nobody really got in trouble because we liked staying and working late. Some people came in early because they got more done when it was quieter, but I think the most coding got done at like 8 at night.

  2. I tried the remote work thing for a while, but personally find it easier to get into a work mindset at the office. Further, my commute is a 15 min bike ride that I muchly enjoy. Ultimately though, my work is on the laptop so it can go anywhere.

    I do think 9 to 5 is antiquated, though I follow it with some flexibility. Really comes down to personal preference. One dude who works with our officemates comes in around 6am and leaves at 2pm.

  3. I actually don’t mind the 9-5 schedule. I’ve done it for such a long time that I’m quite used to it.

    I like telecommuting, but I find that for it to work you need a good workspace with a minimum of distractions.

    When my office gets really busy and I’m doing a lot of writing, I like to work from home.

    I find that when I’m working from home, I’m up earlier and getting to my work right away. No need for distractions like shower and breakfast! hehe Just coffee and my laptop and I’m working. šŸ™‚

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