What Is Telecommuting?

man working in home office
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Telecommuting refers to a working arrangement or work style where an employee does his or her work off-site, or outside of the principal office. They typically work from home one or more days a week and communicate with the office over phone or some other internet-related form, like chat or email.

This type of flexible work arrangement might also include some other non-traditional work setup like a flexible schedule, though it's not necessarily the case with all telecommute jobs.

Telecommuting usually refers to a job state in which the person is regularly off-site but it's sometimes used as a temporary term too, such as when someone will be working from home over the weekend or during vacation.

However, it's not typically the term used for situations where employees sometimes take work home with them or where an employees's job involves a lot of off-site work or travel (e.g., sales).

Tip: See Why Telecommuting Makes Good Business Sense for some more information.

Other Names for Telecommuting

Telecommute is also referred to as telework, remote work, flexible work arrangement, teleworking, virtual work, mobile work, and e-work.

See the differences between telecommuting and telework for more information on that.

Examples of Telecommuting Jobs

There are plenty of jobs that could be done from home but they simply aren't. Most jobs that require only a computer and phone are prime candidates for telecommuting positions since both of those devices are common in most households.

Here are some examples of telecommuting jobs:

  • Software engineer
  • Financial analyst
  • Teacher/tutor
  • Underwriter
  • Web designer
  • Interpreter
  • Writer
  • Administrative assistant
  • Travel agent or counselor
  • Systems engineer
  • Attorney
  • Medical transcriptionist

See How to Become a Telecommuter or Find a Work-from-Home Job for help finding jobs that allow telecommuting.

Work-At-Home Scams

It's extremely common to see advertisements or even official-looking job offers that claim to be telecommute positions but are actually just scams.

These are sometimes the "get rich quick" schemes that might suggest that after an up-front investment, they can pay you back or get you more money later. Others might suggest that after you buy a product of theirs, you can then use it to help with your at-home job and get reimbursed for your expenses later.

According to the FTC: “If a business opportunity promises no risk, little effort, and big profits, it almost certainly is a scam. These scams offer only a money pit, where no matter how much time and money is invested, consumers never achieve the riches and financial freedom promised.”

It's best to look for at-home, telecommute job from reputable sources like through the company itself instead of third-party job sites. See the link above for help finding a telecommute job.