Guest post by Jenny Holt
For anyone who has to put up with the time, cost and stress of the daily commute, only to spend the day being distracted by water cooler gossip and an over-officious micro manager, the idea of working from home seems like paradise. Well, for a growing number of Americans, heaven is a place on earth, as the era of the remote worker really does seem to be upon us.
According to the latest research, more than 3 million Americans work predominantly from home, a statistic that is rising dramatically year on year. The latest technologies in cloud-based systems mean that we have access to shared resources and document archives from anywhere in the world. So, is teleworking really as perfect as it seems? We take a look at some of the benefits and the pitfalls of remote working.
Saving money all round
With increasing fuel costs, the daily commute costs the average American almost $3,000 per year. And that is before you consider the stress and time of sitting in rush-hour traffic twice every day.
But it is not just the home worker who can save money. Increasingly, businesses are seeing the whole concept of the office as a luxury they can do without, resulting in huge cost savings through reduced management time and overheads.
A balanced life
When you step back and look at it, the whole concept of starting work at 9am and finishing at 5pm seems out of place in today’s 24/7 global economy. As a home worker, you can work the hours that suit you. Early bird? Perfect, put in a couple of hours work then take a time out to enjoy breakfast with the kids and do the school run, before returning to your home office.
Getting the balance right takes discipline, though. Personal and business commitments can start to compete with one another for your time, and neither your boss nor your family will appreciate being in second place.
Focused and engaged
The nation’s teleworkers are more engaged and productive, according to a 2015 study by the Society for Human Resource Management. Intuitively, that makes sense. You are more likely to soldier on and get some work done if you are feeling unwell, and there are generally fewer distractions than in a busy office environment.
As with most aspects of homeworking, there is a balance to everything. Some people find that they miss the bustle of the office, and feel cut off from the business. Ultimately, it is up to you to make sure you manage your time and commitments to enjoy the full benefits that the 21st century remote office has to offer.