Teleworker Frequently Asked Questions
Can people still work as a team if they telework?
Yes! In fact, teamwork can actually be improved and the team can maintain more effective ties when telework is part of the job. The success of the team relies on three factors: 1) accountability, 2) communication and 3) technology.
Do teleworkers have difficulty advancing in their careers?
This question is most often asked because people think that teleworkers are “never around” (the out of sight/out of mind argument). In fact, many teleworkers are in the office more than they are at home, just working remotely just one or two days a week and working in the office the rest of the time. Therefore, they are not easily forgotten. Also, most teleworkers are given the chance to work outside of the office because they show initiative, responsibility and decision making abilities. In the long run, these are qualities that make a person an above-average candidate for promotion.
I’m afraid I’ll work too much if my office is in my home. How do I avoid this temptation?
With such easy access to work, many people find they cannot easily forget about work. One thing that works for some teleworkers is to develop a routine. Stop and start work at the same time every day and take regular breaks. At the close of the work day, shut off your computer and turn off the lights in your office. This routine provides a regular “quitting time” and will discourage you from easily getting back to work.
Will a problem arise if my spouse is at home when I telework?
The answer to this question will obviously differ from one situation to the next. If your spouse interferes with your work on a regular basis, and the interference cannot be corrected, you probably should not be teleworking. The key to most successful telework arrangements is separation. Teleworker can let their family members know that when they are working, they are working, and they are not to be disturbed unless there is an emergency. As far as a spouse is concerned, a telework should expect their spouse to respect their boundaries. If these boundaries cannot be respected, then a different arrangement should be agreed upon, or the employee should stop telework.
Can dependent care and telework be done together?
In almost every situation, the answer is no. One of the major benefits of telework is the opportunity to work without distractions. If teleworkers have to take care of a small child or someone who needs constant care, they will not be concentrating solely on work. The employees’ productivity will probably reflect this fact, but it’s best to avoid the problem altogether before their work suffers. While it is possible to combine telework and dependent care, it takes an extremely disciplined employee, and an almost perfect situation.
How can I keep track of my children and concentrate on my work when I telework?
Most likely, you can’t. In almost every situation like this, the teleworker concentrates on their children more than their work, as any good parent would. Just like in a dependent care situation, the teleworker is always trying to do two things at once. This means that neither responsibility is receiving the attention it requires. The best alternative is some type of day care, usually outside of the home, but it could work inside the home as well. There needs to be a separation between work and family-life for both the teleworker and their family. The teleworker needs time to concentrate solely on work and the family needs to recognize that the teleworker for the most part should not be bothered at work.
Should my office space at home be viewed as separate from the entire house, or should it be a place where my children and spouse can find me if they need me?
Ideally, the teleworker would have a situation that could combine both of these. And it can be done, it just takes discipline. The other members of the teleworker’s family must understand that when the teleworker is working, he or she cannot be disturbed except for emergencies. The key is respect. Family members must respect the teleworkers’ time to work. At the same time, teleworkers must respect the promises they make to quit work on schedule, and be available if their help is needed.