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.
- 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.
- 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.