I want to be a stay-at-home mother — and hold down a job. This seems to be virtually
impossible in today’s business world. Telecommuting is my only solution to the problem.
How do I go about finding the companies offering this option?
The Career Doctor responds:
Telecommuting also referred to as teleworking is an employment scenario
that many workers — at one time or another — fantasize about. The idea of
not having to face the morning and afternoon commutes of wearing your
pajamas or sweats all day of totally managing your time and of spending
more time with your family — all these things contribute to our view that
telecommuting should — or could — be an option that would make us
happier and better workers.
And people with young children or elderly parents often seek out telecommuting
as you have as a way to stay an active member of the workforce while
balancing family obligations.
The reality of telecommuting though is that while you do eliminate the
commute to work you still need childcare or eldercare — because you
cannot expect to effectively work while being constantly distracted by family issues.
You also need enough room in your house or apartment where you can
carve out some space that is dedicated to work.
If you are still seriously thinking about telecommuting here are a few
other reality checks for you to consider:
- It’s very rare to find a job that starts out as a telecommuting job. It’s
much easier to convert an existing position into a telecommuting position
by presenting a proposal to your supervisor.
- Most people who telecommute do not do so full-time; instead they
usually telecommute from home two or three days a week. Two days
per week is the national average among teleworkers according to the
International Telework Association and Council.
On the positive side telecommuting employment opportunities are continuing to rise year after year. Gartner Dataquest estimated in 2009 (apparently the most recent year stats are available) that 27.5 percent of workers telecommuted. And some companies have much more favorable attitudes and policies about teleworking than others.
You can learn more about the trends in telework — and how to get your
employer to allow you to telecommute — by reading our article
Your Case for Telecommuting: How to Convince the Boss.
You can also find other telework resources and links by visiting the
Telecommuting and Work-at-Home Jobs section of Quintessential Careers.