What is telecommuting? What is telework? Lately we have had a number of visitors searching for the answer to these questions and I realized that I haven’t answered them directly before, so here goes…
Telecommuting or telework is an arrangement where some or all of an employees tasks can be done at a location other than the designated central office or worksite.
Traditionally the home is generally used as the “other” location but it can be a hotel room, a customer site, a coffee shop, the back yard, or anywhere that the environment allows the employee to complete their tasks or projects.
Both terms “telecommute” and “telework” were coined in 1973 by Jack Nilles, a rocket scientist that became known as the father of telecommuting. Both words are now used interchangeably, but the original use of the term telecommute referred to the ability of telecommunications technology to eliminate the need to travel or commute physically to a central location.
Telework is made possible by technology, but it is the very human qualities and specific skillsets of the teleworker and the manager that make teleworking arrangements successful or not.