What Does Telework Mean?

Many jobs let you work at home or at an off-site location

Telework sounds like a fancy work-from-your-telephone type of job, but it's really just a synonym for telecommuting. These terms refer to a type of work arrangement where an employee or employer does not commute to the primary office location for work but instead works from home or an off-site location.

In other words, telework is any situation where work duties are accomplished outside of the regular office location where a group of employees might also work. However, telework does not refer to situations where employees sometimes take work home with them or where an employee's job involves a lot of off-site work or travel (like sales).

Woman working from home with computer and telephone
 Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Federal Government Usage

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management and General Services Administration uses the term telework for Federal Government reporting purposes and regarding all policy and legislative matters.

Their Telework Guide defines telework as:

"Work arrangements in which an employee regularly performs officially assigned duties at home or other work sites geographically convenient to the residence of the employee."

To be considered a teleworker, the employee has to work remotely at least once a month.

Telework is also known as remote work, flexible work arrangement, teleworking, virtual work, mobile work, and e-work. However, telecommuting and telework didn't always have the exact same definition.

How to Work From Home

Working at a different location from your employees or colleagues might seem like an enticing idea. After all, organizations that have telework policies often report greater employee satisfaction, since working from home provides greater work-life balance for the employee.

However, not all employers support teleworking situations. There are several things you should consider before you ask your employer if you can work from home. Read company policy about remote work before you offer the idea of telecommuting.

If you want to become a work-at-home employee, you should be aware of what to expect. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to a telework position, just like there are for regular, on-site work arrangements.

Examples of Telework

Since telework is any work done away from the main office, it can refer to any job that can be performed at your own home, a different office location, or anywhere else in the world. Here are some examples of telework positions:

  • Computer Programmer
  • Online Tutor
  • Writer
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Underwriter
  • Travel Agent
  • Stockbroker
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Translator
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