Freelancing for a Living

Telecommuting Questions Answered

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

People are always asking questions about work-at-home employment. There is more misinformation out there than reliable information concerning working at home. What are some of the most common questions asked in regards to telecommuting?

Telecommuting describes a situation where someone works off-site for part or all of the workweek.

In essence, the person commutes via telecommunication equipments such as telephones and modems. He may telecommute from a mobile office, from a satellite location or from home. This article provides answers to some of the most common questions asked in regards to telecommuting.

Which jobs are best suited for telecommuting?

Whereas telecommuting jobs have broadened to include a wide range of jobs types, the ones best suited for telecommuting are especially those in technical fields such as computer programming. However, there are also telecommuting jobs in research, writing, sales, transcription, nursing, social work, and many other areas.

Are telecommuters entitled to salaries and benefits?

Many telecommuting programs offer benefits and salaries. This is especially in cases where an employer allows an employee to work at home and in professional and highly skilled jobs. Most of the telecommuting jobs found on the internet are contract-based or freelance work where the employee is paid depending on the amount of work completed.

Must you pay for telecommuting jobs?

NO! Genuine employers will never charge to hire you. In telecommuting jobs, like any other jobs, you are hired based on your relevant skills and experience. Any job advertisement that implies that you just sign up to work is not a legitimate job. Neither is one where a fee is charged.

Where are telecommuting jobs found?

Telecommuting jobs can be found in two ways. First, consider your current job. Does your current job have tasks that can be done at home? If so, you could come up with a work-at-home-proposal explaining your work-at-home-plan and how your company will benefit from it. The second way is to conduct a work-at-home job search. Career oriented websites are the best places to find these jobs.

Do I need special skills for telecommuting?

Special skills, particularly in computer programming, will make it easier and faster to find a work-at-home job. However, there are many kinds of work-at-home jobs that don't require any special skills or qualifications. Fundamental skills that you should have include organizing, writing, problem solving, research and internet use.

Is telecommuting suitable for parents?

Telecommuting is very beneficial to parents but that does not necessarily mean that telecommuters can do without childcare. Most companies require a formal telecommuting agreement with childcare provisions specified. Working at home with children can be challenging as children need much care and attention. Even when they are busy in activities, they can be a major distraction. If you have plans of working from home, it would be wise to consider different childcare alternatives such as play groups, co-ops or pre-schools that could enable you have some uninterrupted time to work.

Does telecommuting work for everyone?

No. While telecommuting has many benefits such as no commute time and flexibility, it has its own disadvantages. Working at home requires a lot of self-discipline to ignore distractions such as television and dishes. It can lead to resentment at the office especially if the office staff cannot reach the telecommuter, and as a result have to pick up extra work not finished. One of the main challenges facing telecommuters is the isolation which comes as a result of working from home. Telecommuters are locked out of informal and formal office social systems.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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