Many schools across the country have closed because of swine flu infections. This has forced some parents to stay at home to take care of the kids. These unexpected changes in schedules are a hardship for the parents and for the firms that employ them because it reduces productivity.
Some firms provide employees with the opportunity to work from home. The work-at-home programs may be called telecommuting, e-commuting, e-work, or telework. The firms that allow working from home may also provide equipment, such as computers, modems, and internet access. The most effective way to work from home requires a connection for the computer and a separate line for the telephone so that both can be used at the same time.
When a significant portion of the employees work from home, a company is able to reduce its office space. In addition, a company that allows telecommuting may be able to hire qualified individuals who live far away or who, because of disabilities or other obligations, may not be able to drive to the company location.
Telecommuting provides a “green” alternative to driving. You don’t use gasoline. You don’t have to fight traffic. You don’t pollute and you reduce your carbon footprint. However, you need to have discipline to get your work done in spite of the distractions that can be found at home. You cannot just surf the internet or play solitaire and expect to get paid.