What They Don’t Tell You about Working from Home: Secrets from a Full-Time Telecommuter

Working from home full-time is something I have had the privilege of doing for more than a year and a half, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I mean, can you blame me? I get to sit on the couch all day in my pajamas and respond to emails while munching on Cheetos and watching TV. Right? No way!

478907681Sure, full-time telecommuting seems glamorous. At social events, I usually don’t lead with the “I work from home” statement, since it leads to a ton of comments (“Oh, you are SO lucky! I am SO jealous!”) and even more questions (“How do you discipline yourself? I could never do that!”).  If there was one secret that I could share with you about the glamorous life of a full-time telecommuter it would be: it’s not really all that different from an office job. You work normal hours, have a full load of work to do every day, interact with colleagues, attend meetings, take a lunch break and clock out at the end of the day. What is different is that much of what you do is virtual, and that takes some getting used to.

The Benefits of Telecommuting

I am huge advocate for full-time telecommuting, for employees and companies alike. Not only do employees appreciate the flexibility that WFH affords, companies with video technology have a worldwide talent pool with no geographic boundaries. Your team can be full of the best-of-the-best from all over the world. Think of the money you can save on travel too! Instead of flying employees in for a big all-hands meeting, they can join over video instead. In my particular position, I manage PR teams in Europe and Asia, and can do so from the comfort of my house in Houston. No international travel needed.

So, What’s the Hold Up?

I can understand why some companies are hesitant to unleash an army of full-time telecommuters out into the world. There’s a lot of trust involved. Managers have to know that their employees won’t misuse their time and will take this WFH privilege seriously. Likewise, employees that are given this flexible working benefit must have some serious self-discipline and be as professional, dependable and responsible as if they were in the office. But if you hire the right people, telecommuting is an invaluable company benefit that your employees will love.  It builds trust, encourages accountability and enhances individual project management skills.  It makes for happier, balanced and ultimately more motivated employees.

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