The act of using remote communication technologies to perform work which otherwise would have to be performed at a workplace. As first-world countries are shifting to service industries, telecommuting is becoming more popular. This is due to several benefits, but there are drawbacks as well.

As the name implies, telecommuting makes commuting unneccessary. This saves transportation and time costs, and indirectly, keeps the planet a little less polluted. With fewer employees at a workplace, the employer can save on location costs (from office space rental costs down to toilet paper). This may or may not impact overhead, depending on the administration costs of having employees work at home as opposed to having them work in the office. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is being able to work in your underwear. Benefits like that, that come from being in the comfort of your home, generally improves morale.

That same advantage has a flipside. Less motivated employees, or those that require guidance and direction, may be less productive at home. Meetings through remote communication protocols may not be as productive as face-to-face meetings. Communication in general may be impacted detrimentally, as there is no water cooler (metaphorically speaking) to gather around. Projects that require intensive teamwork are especially susceptible to this. The main drawback, however, are the technological constraints. In many cases, current technology just cannot make up for not being there.

Telecommuting allows employees to work remotely (usually from home) utilizing various technologies such as VPN tunneling and video conferencing.

Most people who travel to an office everyday and sit in a cubicle believe this would be ideal. As a person who is now telecommuting 24x7 without a choice, I can say it is not all it is cracked up to be. Not only does it strain your marriage and has a detrimental effect on your personal hygiene but you often miss the comradery of your fellow colleagues (as a Java developer, I have a hard time telling my wife about my day without her eyes glazing over).

For all the potential telecommuters out there: every other week is fine. Much more than that and you may find yourself envying Dilbert.

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