Myth: If you have a computer you can Telecommute for a Big Company!
In truth, telecommuting opportunities are abundant. But, you can’t just say, “I have a computer, now give me some homework!” To become a telecommuter you must be willing to not only work hard for the employer but also be independent, committed and serious about your home based job. The best way to set up a telecommuting situation is to suggest it to the employer that you already work for. With so many companies giving telecommuting a try, you might just be surprised by the fact that your boss is receptive to the idea.
A growing number of companies are using telecommuters and many do not require that you work from them “in house” first. However, most will require that you live within a few miles of the office, be able to attend weekly or monthly meetings and possibly fill in a day or two in the head office when other employees are on vacation or taking a sick day. Also, be aware that certain types of jobs are just not suitable for a telecommuting situation. For instance, front office reception, office managers, file clerks and many others.
The opposite is true for positions like sales agents, customer service representatives, account representatives, software technicians, computer programmers, clerical staff and many others. If you want to work from home in a telecommuting situation, these types of jobs offer the best and most abundant opportunities. A HomeWorkers Net member tells his story of how he got a telecommuting job from home:
“I got hired on with MCI as a customer service representative. I worked for them at the call center in Virginia for awhile so that I could go through training, learn the ropes and prove myself as a reliable employee. Afterwards, I was allowed to work from my home full time. I had to buy a desk and chair and my manager had to come to my house to make sure that my office was set up properly. They supplied me with a computer and telephone and the rest is history. I couldn’t dream of a better situation. Thanks alot!” Ken Martin – Newport News, Virginia
You need to orchestrate a careful mix of research, diplomacy and salesmanship if you would like to arrange a telecommuting situation with your current employer. You should:
Clearly state what you mean by telecommuting. To avoid potential misunderstandings, make sure that you and your boss have the same expectations. Are you interested in working at home full time or two days per week? Make sure that you are both talking about the same thing!
Know your employers goals and how you can help reach them. Explain how telecommuting would enable you to meet tight deadlines more easily because of fewer interruptions. Or how telecommuting would let you give a large project the concentration it requires. You also might explain how telecommuting can turn what previously may have been lost time – work days missed due to personal appointments, sick children, bad weather or other situations – into productive time because you’re offsite but still doing your job.
Keep in touch with your boss and co-workers. Regular voice messages, e-mails or faxed memos can inform all who need to know about the status of your projects. Similarly, you can share news and participate in meetings through the use of voice messaging, three-way calling, e-mail and other telecommunications solutions. The key is to remember that for telecommuting to work, you and your employer both must benefit.
Outline the costs and savings associated with telecommuting. Potential savings include increased productivity (most telecommuters are at least 10% more productive and take two fewer sick days per year than non- telecommuters do); savings in parking and office space if someone else will use this space when you are out.
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