4 ways to know a telecommuting IT job is the best choice for you
February 24, 2015 in Medical Technology
As more tools are available on mobile and more information is available via cloud systems, an increasing number of IT employers are offering their employees flexible work options. The work from home movement is here, and it’s growing.
According to a survey conducted by Gensler, workers who were given the choice to work from home were better focused, had more effective collaboration with their team, and were more satisfied with their job and work environment.
But which choice is right for you? If you’re searching for new opportunities in IT and are considering telecommuting, these tips can help you decide if making the switch to the home office your best option:
Consider the Environment
Although you may be tempted to believe that most telecommuters are work-at-home moms, research indicates that a majority of employees would chose to work from home at least part-time if they were given the choice. A report from Inc. Magazine found that 53 percent of telecommuters are men, and that the percentage of telecommuters and traditional office workers with kids is about the same.
While lifestyle factors are important to consider, the position and the environment needed to effectively perform the job are critical components to the work-from-home decision.
First, consider your work environment. Do you have kids? Loud roommates? What are the potential distractions you would need to overcome in your space?
Then, consider the requirements of the position in relation to those distractions. If the position is project management and/or requires you to communicate with clients and team members frequently via phone calls and video conferences, working from home will require a quiet space. IT positions that are less reliant on communication will be more flexible in terms of where you can work. In these positions, you can easily escape distractions at home by relocating to a coffee shop or library.
Think About Balance
Although working from home can give you a more flexible schedule, it can also cause you to work more hours. According to the Inc. study, 53 percent of telecommuters work more than 40 hours each week, compared with just 28 percent of those who work in office environments.
The convenience of having your workplace at home can make it easy to work late and difficult to separate work and home life. Disconnecting from work may be even more difficult for IT workers who are more likely to always be plugged in to the latest technology.
If you’re a common offender of checking work email after hours and on weekends, understand that working from home could draw you away from your personal life even more. If you feel you have a good grip on your work-life balance, telecommuting could be a good option.
To work from home effectively you need to possess certain work habits. You should be able to work independently without a manager looming over your shoulder driving productivity. But the type of work also plays a part in your productivity.
The Inc. study found that remote workers are about 10 percent less productive than their in-office colleagues when performing repetitive work, while those perform creative tasks are about 20 percent more productive than their office counterparts.
For entry-level IT positions that require routine work, an office environment may be a better choice. But working from home in programming, development, and security jobs that allow and demand you to think outside of the box could be a smart career move. Your best ideas may come to you where you feel most comfortable. Working remotely also removes office chatter, meetings, pointless internal emails, and other distractions that can take away from deep thought and brainstorming.
Look at Social Aspects
A report from Globoforce found that most people spend more time with their co-workers than their own families, and 89 percent of professionals said that work relationships are important for their overall quality of life.
Before embarking on your telecommuting job search, think about your office friendships. Will you miss that face-to-face interaction, or do you tend to shy away from the water cooler? If you’re more comfortable communicating through email, text, chat, and phone than in-person, working from home could be right for you. While face-to-face communication is still an important professional skill, working remotely could help you ease into new work relationships and facilitate better communication.
Before accepting a telecommuting position in IT, learn about the specifics of how remote working works for that company. Ask about the tools they offer, how many other telecommuters they have, and what feedback they’ve gotten. Ultimately, the decision to work from home is about what is best for you and your career.
Are you transitioning to a flexible IT job? How did you make the decision?
Connect with Tim and HealthITJobs.com on LinkedIn.