For thousands of people around the world, the work week begins and ends inside their own homes. These workers have discovered the advantages of telecommuting, a work-at-home arrangement between employers and employees. Telecommuters often have the same responsibilities and workloads as their office counterparts, but they can perform their duties without a daily commute to a centralized location. Not all occupations are suitable for telecommuting, but the practice is usually seen as a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
Some of the advantages of telecommuting are economical and environmental in nature. A telecommuting worker does not have to use a gas-burning vehicle to reach his or her workplace. There is no specific dress code for most telecommuters, so there is little need for expensive dry cleaning of business attire. Instead of spending significant amounts of money on restaurant food, telecommuters are free to prepare more economical meals at home. Telecommuters can also coordinate their working hours with family meal times.
Other advantages are more social in nature. Telecommuting workers may be able to coordinate their work schedules with spouses working other shifts. Working parents can provide their own daycare services, which is a considerable savings over commercial daycare centers' fees. Telecommuting parents are often available for medical emergencies or other needs. Working at home also allows workers to make personal appointments with fewer scheduling conflicts. Work hours missed during the morning can often be made up during the evening, for example.
Many work-at-home employees discover even more advantages of telecommuting over time. Workers who need a distraction-free environment can avoid the hectic atmosphere of a typical centralized office space. Superiors are less likely to create busy work for telecommuters who remain out-of-sight. Telecommuters may have to make occasional trips to the company for conferences or orientation, but they are not obligated to attend time-consuming daily meetings. One of the main sociological advantages of working as a telecommuter is avoiding many of the interpersonal hazards of a traditional office environment, such as office politics, morale-damaging gossip or distracting co-workers.