First Person: When Telecommuting Works Best

Yahoo Contributor Network

I started out my writing career as a telecommuter after graduating from college in the early 1990s. Not every one is cut out for working at home, but I was.

When I worked out of a home office, I had to carry around the large phones with antennas as often seen on reruns of the television sitcoms such as "Seinfeld."

My company provided me with a "laptop" computer that would be considered completely archaic today. I could only read a few sentences at a time from a small screen. When it was time to "send" the article to the newspaper, I had to place the earphones on the phone so it could transfer the signals and delivery the copy.

According to a recent article by U. S. News and World Report, its takes a certain breed of people to be productive working away from an office setting. They cited a recent FlexJobs study that looked at who telecommutes and why.

I think it is important for people considering telecommuting to consider their own motivations as well as their employer's stance on working from home.

Staying motivated to work

According to a study, 82 percent of those surveyed wanted to avoid the distractions of coworkers. I work better when I have a completely quiet and private environment. I'm also like the other people surveyed in that I want more work-family balance and less stress. I am extremely motivated to work as long as I can maintain family time and a level of peace.

Keeping the environment clean

Some companies will encourage people to telecommute in order to "keep it green." I save a lot of money on gasoline by telecommuting. I also have learned how to organize my time more efficiently to conserve driving to work appointments. Employers often notice other hidden benefits of having employees work at home, such as improved health and fitness which lowers health costs.

Having more work experience

Without a doubt, having more work experience has helped me become a better telecommuter. Not only have I worked in an office setting in my 30s, but I spent my 40s working at home. The study found people who telecommute tend to be in the 30 to 59 age range. Although I worked from home in my 20s, many of my colleagues in journalism didn't even try telecommuting until their 40s or 50s. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed had a college degree while 35 percent had a graduate degree.

Flying solo or working for the man

Some people who telecommute work for a company while others "freelance." Most people who are independent contractors or freelancers don't receive medical benefits. Most freelancers have to purchase their own computers and phones. I think it was easier for me to telecommute in my 30s since I was a successful as a teleworker in the past. Back then there wasn't as much technology. Now I'm able to be faster and more productive because of the tools at my disposal.

As an introvert, I can attest to the fact that I'm better suited to the telecommuting. And, it seems to be a trend that's only growing.

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