What Is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting definition and examples

Thanks to the growing number of internet productivity apps and VoIP services, more companies are allowing employees to work from home. Learn more about what telecommuting is and some examples of telecommuting jobs.

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

Telecommuting Definition

Telecommuting refers to a working arrangement where employees work from home one or more days a week and communicate with the office over the phone or the internet. Telecommuting benefits employers and employees since it reduces the need for office space and gives workers a better work-life balance. This type of work arrangement might also include other perks like a flexible schedule, but that's not necessarily the case with all telecommuting jobs.

The term telecommuting usually refers to a long-term arrangement, but it's sometimes used when someone will be working from home over the weekend or during vacation. However, it's not typically a term used for situations where employees sometimes take work home with them or where a job involves a lot of off-site work or travel (e.g. sales).

The terms telecommuting and telecommunication are not synonymous. Telecommunication refers broadly to the transmission of information via wire, radio, or other electromagnetic systems.

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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. Here are some examples of telecommuting or telework jobs:

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

Work-At-Home Scams

It's extremely common to see advertisements or even official-looking job offers for telecommuting positions that are actually just online scams. Some are obvious “get rich quick” schemes that ask for up-front investments, while others might suggest that you'll get reimbursed for your expenses after purchasing a certain product. It's best to look for telecommuting jobs from reputable sources, like through the company itself, instead of third-party job sites.

According to the FTC, “If a business opportunity promises no risk, little effort, and big profits, it almost certainly is a scam.”