This essay was published by The Washington Post on Feb. 6, 2018. It was republished by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Feb. 6, 2018, by The Chicago Daily Herald and Omaha World-Herald on Feb. 11, 2018 and by The Toronto Star on Feb. 13, 2018.
Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.
But technology is making working from home a viable option for many industries. A Gallup poll found almost half of employed Americans, or 43 percent, spend some time working remotely. “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the report said. Today, more than 60 percent of organizations allow some type of teleworking, compared with a mere 20 percent just two decades ago.
Not everyone is on board with telecommuting or even knows how to define it.
A company where I once interviewed touted a “very flexible work schedule.” When I asked if this meant employees sometimes worked from home, the hiring manager said no. “We’re all in the office before 8 a.m. and try to leave by 6 p.m. But if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the morning or something, we’ll let you, and you can make that time up later. We’re very flexible.”
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