Envionmental Psychology

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Is Telecommuting Right for You?

By Jeanette Joy Fisher

Would You Like to Work From Home?

With fuel costs rising and the use of computers, the Internet, and email continuing to increase, more and more people are beginning to consider the option of telecommuting, even if it's only one or two days a week. It may seem like an appealing option, but before you commit to trying your hand at telecommuting, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

First, take a realistic look at your job. Does any part of your occupation lend itself to being done from home?

Next, take an equally realistic look at your own unique personality and skills. Would you be able to have enough self-discipline to work from home without any outside supervision? Are you able to stay on task and to stay organized well enough to do your work efficiently?

Finally, do you have an adequate workspace and the appropriate technology at home to be able to do your job effectively? That generally means a home office space, equipped with all the technology you'll need.

If you were honestly able to answer all of these questions yes, both you and your job may be candidates for telecommuting. The next step is to approach your manager with a proposal that would allow you to do a certain amount of your work from home. Since it's a big step and would require rethinking the way your job would be done, it's important that you anticipate, consider, and address every area of concern that your manager might have.

Make sure that your proposal focuses on the benefits to your company and not to you. Just because it would be more convenient and less expense to work from home, that doesn't mean your company would see a benefit to having you telecommute. Your proposal must be very specific about the advantages telecommuting would have to the company's bottom line.

Here are some suggestions for making your proposal more appealing. Tell your manager than you will be more productive at home, since you'll experience fewer interruptions there than you would in the office. Let your superiors know that you'll make yourself available for all meetings or conference calls via the telephone.

To entice your supervisors to give telecommuting a try, offer a trial period to see if it will work in your particular situation. At the end of the trial period, everyone will be able to assess the results and decide if the arrangement has been satisfactory. If it hasn't, at least you were able to try your hand at telecommuting.

Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular, especially as more and more jobs involve the extensive use of computers. With continuing advances in the Internet, email, video cams, and teleconferencing, it's more possible than ever before to do all or most of many jobs from home.

If you feel that your job may lend itself to telecommuting, this may be the perfect time to approach your supervisor and explore the possibility of working from home, whether it's on a fulltime or part-time basis.

Copyright 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

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