Telecommuting Presents Unique Challenges To Workers

telecommutingFor the majority of us workers who have to trudge into work early each morning, the idea of staying at home and telecommuting to the office is understandably popular. For the ten percent of the workforce who actually telecommute either on a part time or full time basis, however, the reality of such an arrangement isn’t as rosy as one would think. While there are undeniable benefits to being able to work at home, there are also greater responsibilities that some workers simply cannot become accustom to having.

Workers at home know all too well the various disturbances that when combined lessen productivity and can make work at home even more stressful than at the office. Perhaps one the greatest risks of telecommuting is family members not respecting the boundaries of work and home life. Of course, this is hard to do when those boundaries no longer physically exist. When you first begin telecommuting, you’ll undoubtedly have family members asking for help, stopping by to visit, or expecting you to run errands on their behalf. At that point, it is absolutely essential that you impose rules on those who you are in contact with throughout the day.

Of course, it isn’t only family and friends who will bother you. It seems as if there is always something happening when you work from home. Everything from the mailman knocking on the door to telemarketers pestering you on the phone help to produce a poisoned atmosphere where productive work is often all the impossible. Even your pets can help add to this problem by doing everything they can to get your attention while you’re supposed to be working. Fortunately, these problems can be mitigated by first having someone watch your children for you during this period of time and also setting up physical barriers within the home. For example, you should have a dedicated space for your home office, with a dedicated phone line that is the only line you answer during working hours. Keeping things separate will allow for you to have better control over your work life at home.

There is also the problem of technical support, or specifically the lack thereof. By working at home, you can’t simply call up the IT guy to come fix your computer every time there is a problem. Instead, you’re expected to have the knowledge necessary to keep the printer, fax, and laptop functioning enough to complete the day’s work. When things break down, you have to call third party technical services, which are costly and sometimes unreliable. One of the best ways to prevent technical problems from sidetracking your work progress is to have backups available. This means having more than one laptop, more than one printer, and constantly keeping your data backed up using either an external hard drive or a data storage service online. When you have these ready to go, you’ll never be caught having to wait around for another party to fix something.

While telecommuting can be the best thing to happen for a worker in a long time, it is often much more challenging than many of them would’ve imagined. There are unique difficulties that one has to face, where special planning is required in order to maintain productivity levels and get projects finished on time.

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