Friday marks the start of National Work from Home Week (Oct. 1-7, 2010). Although we think of working from home as a fairly recent phenomenon, it’s really nothing new. Heck, there was a time when almost everybody worked from home. They were called farmers.
Then along came the Industrial Revolution with its new machines, factories, and transportation options and suddenly commuting was a regular part of most people’s lives.
Fast-forward to the late 20th Century, when the revolution in information technology opened a whole new world of possibilities for working from home.
How can you celebrate National Work from Home Week? If you’re lucky enough to have a job (and a boss) that allows you to work from home—at least occasionally—the obvious answer is by working from home! And while you’re there, be sure to raise your morning coffee and offer a grateful toast to the co-founder and president of JALA International, Jack Nilles, who coined the terms telecommuting and telework in 1973.
Telework Is Not for Everyone
For some jobs, of course, working from home will never be an option. Pilots, doctors, miners, cashiers, professional athletes, dog walkers, school teachers, and many other jobs and industries depend on the worker being in a specific location at a specific time.
But for the rest of us—about 3 in 5 workers in the industrialized world, according to JALA—telework is an option that has benefits for employees and employers, alike. Wondering whether you're suited to a work-from-home scenario? Take this Telework Job Suitability Test.
If you’re a good candidate, and you’re hoping to negotiate a work-from-home arrangement, point out to your boss that your productivity will go up. Companies have measured increases in productivity between 10 and 35% among their employees who work remotely.
In addition, here are some not-so-obvious benefits that might help you persuade your employer.
A Telework Program Can:
- Support the business’s “green” goals (less gasoline since you're not driving to work)
- Build greater employee loyalty
- Allow continued productivity during pandemics (e.g., H1N1) or other disasters
- Lower turnover, relocation, hiring, and training costs
- Reduce office space requirements and parking lot costs
- Widen the talent pool (e.g., mobility-challenged workers, non-local experts).
If you think it’s realistic that you, your manager, and the organization can succesfully implement a work-from-home program, next week is the perfect time to bring it up!
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