Telecommuting is a flexible work arrangement which allows employees to work from outside the central workplace. This is usually at home or at a satellite office, and can be for all or a portion of a work week, done occasionally or regularly. If done regularly, it generally involves the worker using technology such as a computer with access to the organisation’s network or a smart phone that can access work email, however this is not essential. It is possible to telecommute on an occasional basis to undertake particular tasks which may not require network access, such as research, report writing, preparing correspondence, submissions, advice work, and planning.
Telecommuting is particularly well-suited to staff who can work autonomously, and do not require close supervision or interaction with other team members.
It is understood that setting up the equipment and technology that may be required to work from home may not match the timelines required for this project. However, wherever possible staff who want to telecommute during this study may be able to undertake assignments that do not require network access.
Organisations should comply with any existing working from home policies and be aware that the issues they need to consider include:
  • security of information whilst outside of the mainstream workplace
  • health and safety — a workplace health and safety assessment is generally required to ensure an ergonomic set up of home computer equipment and other office furniture
  • management and supervision of employees should be performance-, rather than attendance-based. Performance-based management looks at quality, timeliness and quantity of work rather than time spent in the office.

Source: The State of Queensland (Queensland Transport) 2009.

Telecommuting 2.0

Telecommuting 2.0 offers solutions to some of the problems that have kept telecommuting from being fully embraced by management and workers. Telecommuting 2.0 takes advantage of Remote Office Centers, which are distributed centers for leasing offices to individuals from multiple companies. A Remote Office Center provide professional grade network access, phone system, security system, mail stop and optional services for additional costs. ROCs are generally located in areas near where people live throughout population centers, so that workers do not have to commute more than a couple of miles. The telecommuter works in a real office but accesses the company network across the internet using a VPN just as in traditional telecommuting. Telecommuting 2.0 has the additional cost since the company will have to lease office space for the employee, but companies already pay for office space and network infrastructure in traditional office environments. The continuing increases in fuel costs are making telecommuting more and more attractive for companies and workers alike.

Source: Wikipedia (2009)

An introduction:

History of telecommuting adoption in the US

Telecommuting troubles
Security Issues for Telecommuting
The trouble with telecommuting
Rules of Telecommuting

Telecommuting for mothers