Telecommuting is simply defined as work that is not done in a traditional office – in other words, telecommuting means that you don’t travel to the same physical office or office building from Monday to Friday and stay there for eight hours.
But telecommuting can be pretty astronomically defined, “not in a traditional office” can be anywhere with a high-speed connection. To get a better idea of what remote work looks like for you, you need to decide if you envision yourself working from home or if you will ever work outside of your home (almost like a workplace or a coffee shop).
There are big differences between the two telecommuting options, but it’s useful to note that it’s not an either/or proposition—remote workers can work from home one day, in a coworking space the next, and a library or coffee shop the next.
Working from Home
For people with all kinds of caring responsibilities (children, the elderly, etc.), the flexibility of working at home allows them to often participate in the pool without leaving the physical office.
Skillcrush design coach Erin Denton has been working since 2014, spending part of her time working from home as well as being a caretaker. For Denton, the disadvantages of working from home centre around the aforementioned inflexibility, as it allows for a balance between the demands of others who depend on your help and the demands of paid work.
However, Denton adds the caveat that maintenance and paid work is still a delicate balance to maintain. Working from home is certainly an opportunity to get paid work for people with a lot of household responsibilities, but it’s not magic.
However, you need to put systems in place to succeed – perks like a dedicated home office (definitely don’t expect to work from your bed or couch regularly), and a set work schedule (no matter how flexible your schedule).
It is if you plan to work far from home. If these systems are in place, your home can truly become the perfect environment.
While working from home means going from the bedroom to the office—pants optional and pyjama-drinking—working outside the home is a bit more like a traditional environment. Working means you never travel from home to wherever you want to work and are in public or semi-public land with other people.
However, working anytime is infinitely more flexible than working in a 9-5 office. Your schedule and hours are up to you, and you can move from remote device to remote factory as you, please.
The fact that you can work outside the home anywhere you have a fast internet connection and with or without a schedule is what makes it so attractive. Jessica D’Amato, the marketing assistant at Skillcrush, loves working from home but says it’s important to balance being at home and always working away to ensure remote productivity.
D’Amato says one of her biggest challenges working remotely from home is not having her 9-5 office with the same schedule every day. D’Amato does this by combining work from home with regular work in coffee shops or co-working spaces (communal office spaces that can range from free to class-based).
If it’s just working one morning a week at a Starbucks near her home, D’Amato finds that variety helps prevent the inflexibility of telecommuting. Denton agrees that getting out of the house is an integral part of telecommuting (if the home is your primary place of business).
Yes, being at home allows Denton to bounce between paid work and caregiving, but when she needs to get her work done and get things done, she goes to a coworking space.
As an added benefit, Denton uses her time as an opportunity to connect with other remote workers and gain face-to-face contact, a commodity that can be missed when working from home or on a remote team.
While coworking spaces may seem like services you need to work in every day, Denton should remember that many coworking spaces offer different classes depending on how often you plan to visit the space — meaning coworking is easy to make your coworking your environment main or secondary job according to your preferences.