What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting is the practice of an employee working away from the employer’s physical business location. The employee often works from their place of residence. It can also refer to mobile employees who travel for work. In companies that have a 100% remote workforce, all employees telecommute.

Is telecommuting the same as working from home?

Telecommuting is also called work from home, WFH, remote working, and virtual working. Employees who work offsite are called telecommuters or remote workers. Job positions that allow the employee to telecommute are called remote positions, virtual jobs and flex jobs.

What is a hybrid workforce?

A workforce that includes telecommuters is also called a virtual team or distributed workforce. A hybrid or hybrid virtual workforce has employees who telecommute and some who work in the office. In addition, the employees may have a schedule that alternates working from home and working in the office.

NOTE: The term ‘hybrid workforce’ is also used to describe a team comprised of humans and AI-powered digital co-workers that perform automated, repeatable tasks. In this definition, we aren’t addressing this type of hybrid team.

Why do companies allow telecommuting?

Employers don’t need to purchase or lease as much office space when employees telecommute. Having remote workers saves money on business expenses. Some businesses offer telecommuting because it allows them to hire employees who are located far from the organization’s physical location. Companies also allow telecommuting because many employees prefer it to onsite working. Some employers have discovered that telecommuting improves productivity, employee satisfaction and retention.

Pandemic lockdowns increased telecommuting significantly

In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted government lockdowns, millions of employees around the world were sent home to work (if their job could be performed offsite). As of this writing (January 2021) there are still many businesses that haven’t required telecommuters to come back to the office.

How do employers manage telecommuting?

In order to pay each employee correctly, employers need mobile time and attendance software. Employee timekeeping apps have a web portal for clocking in and out.

Time tracking software improves compliance and ensures payroll accuracy

U.S. companies are accountable to the Department of Labor for every employee and every shift. A good time tracking app that everyone uses is your number one tool for telecommuting labor law compliance and paycheck accuracy.

Apps with Mobile Location Management make timekeeping easy. Mobile Location Management uses GPS to identify the physical location of each punch in/out. The employee clocks in on a connected device (the location tracking feature must be enabled) and the system records their location.

Employers who want to restrict punches outside of an authorized work location can use an app with geofencing. Geofencing is a feature of Mobile Location Management that gives supervisors additional oversight into work locations. The manager defines a radius around the employee’s authorized location. If an employee punches in outside of the geofence, the app alerts the manager that the punch is out of bounds. (Keep in mind that if you allow employees to work in coffee shops, for example, you wouldn’t want to use geofencing.)

Telecommuting: 3 Key Findings

  1. 95% of office workers in the U.S. became regular telecommuters when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
  2. June 2020 PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) survey found that 89% of executives expect more than 30% of employees will continue to work remotely at least one day a week post-COVID-19; 55% expect more than 60% to do so.
  3. 97% of North American office workers worked from home more than 1 day/week during the pandemic (88% globally); 67% had not worked remotely on a regular basis before COVID-19 (69% globally). Global Workplace Analytics

See also

Additional resources

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