Telecommuting: Does it work for you?

A rise in gas prices often leads to a rise in telecommuting. It can work with you, or it can work against you. Seventy-five percent of executives polled by Robert Half International Inc., a staffing firm, said their firms are taking action to help employees with the increased cost at the pump, including allowing them to work from home.

However, spending too much time working from home just might keep you out of that much-sought-after corner office. ?Effective management requires plenty of face time with employees. Supervisors should have an open-door policy and that means being available to staff who need guidance with projects,? says Diane Domeyer, executive manager of OfficeTeam, a staffing services company.

In the Robert Half survey, 43 percent of the respondents said telecommuting is best suited for staff-level employees (their work often can be done autonomously), compared with 18 percent who felt it worked for managers, 14 percent for executives, 11 percent for administrative support and 14 percent who said they didn?t know or didn?t answer. Executives were also asked how frequently senior executives at their firms telecommuted. An overwhelming 55 percent said rarely, followed by 23 percent at somewhat frequently, 12 percent said never and a mere 5 percent responded very frequently, did not know, did not answer.

Domeyer encourages employees to get to the office. ?Employees who work from home must ensure that being out of sight doesn?t also mean being out of mind for promotions, team projects and plus assignments,? she says.