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Could You Test Out Telecommuting?

Jul 3, 2008
Working outside the home is getting more expensive these days. Just look at gas prices. Then think about how eating lunch out is eating into your income. And of course the many other expenses.

Working at home could save you a lot of money. And depending on the kind of job you have, it may not be as impossible as you think.

The first thing to do is to consider if your job is suitable for even partial telecommuting. Many are, many aren't. But telecommuting even one day a week can make a big difference and may be that nudge your employer needs to allow more telecommuting. Show that you can be highly productive from home and you might just be allowed to telecommute more.

That is the catch, of course. It may be a long time before you are telecommuting as much as you would like.

Convincing your current employer that telecommuting is a reasonable alternative has many advantages over starting a home business. You still have a job, for one, and that means somewhat more security than you would have with a home business.

Transitioning to telecommuting also means that if your job has benefits, you're keeping them. No worries about how to get health insurance. You still get paid sick leave and vacations.

You still have a boss, but some people prefer it that way. Depending on the boss that can be an advantage or disadvantage.

If your boss is reluctant to allow telecommuting, offer a bargain. Offer the one day a week and regular reviews. Discuss the distractions you have in the office and how they impact your productivity. Your boss will need to see that you are being significantly more productive at home to really feel that you aren't slacking off somehow.

You'll also need to discuss the times that your employer absolutely needs you in the office. Staff meetings can feel like a waste of time, but odds are they will still want you there and cheerful about it. If you're only home a day or two a week, this shouldn't be a problem.

If you know someone who telecommutes use them as an example of how it works. If not, research it! There are many online resources that can help you find the statistics you need to present telecommuting in a positive light.

And of course be willing to admit it if things just aren't working out. Some people do great telecommuting. Others find out that they really don't enjoy it, that they need the company of their coworkers or it's just too hard to get enough peace and quiet at home. That's just how these things go.

If it works out well, you may be able to push for more time working from home and less time in the office. You'll save money on commuting, eating out, and if you have kids old enough to let you work in peace, you may even save on child care. Just know when to shut down your office and really act like you're home rather than still at work.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ as a resource for people who want to work from home. Get more tips on getting permission to telecommute at her site.
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