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How Technology Has Changed Telecommuting

Research suggests that as many as 30 percent of working Americans telecommute. Telecommuting employees report a better work-life balance and increased productivity, while employers that allow telecommuting reduce their overhead and retain more staff. In turn, as your home becomes your place of business your finances, taxes, and such will change (including title loans and others). Telecommuting isn’t a new idea, but the practice has changed significantly as technology has evolved.

The Internet Helps Telecommuters Connect

Internet usage is so prevalent today that it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t using this technology to telecommute. However, in the not-so-distant past the majority of homes and businesses weren’t on the World Wide Web, at least not with constant, high-speed connections. And as a result, telecommuters weren’t linked as closely to their colleagues or clients. However, with the rise of the Internet it’s become much easier for telecommuters to communicate with their professional contacts. Rather than picking up the phone or arranging an in-person meeting, they can simply shoot off an email. Popular applications like Skype allow us to see when our contacts are online and communicate with them at any time with instant messages or video chat. More and more companies are establishing private social networks or groups to bring their workers together in a virtual space. Online communication is easy and efficient. When telecommuters send an instant message or initiate a video chat, they know they’re likely to get immediate feedback. There’s no waiting for a scheduled meeting or a returned phone call. Previously, in-person meetings would affect a telecommuter’s productivity and slow down business decisions, but now colleagues and clients can multitask while sending instant messages. The Internet’s communication capabilities have also helped make workplaces global. Telecommuting employees no longer need to live close enough to a business’s headquarters for regular face-to-face meetings. Today, people even set up a virtual office which essentially allow you to work from wherever you wish.” More companies can employ and connect with telecommuting workers from across the country and the around the world.

There Are More Portable, Powerful Devices for Telecommuting

Telecommuting is often called working from home; however, as devices have become more portable and powerful, telecommuters are increasingly working from vacation spots, coffee shops, and their local parks. Over time laptop computers have gotten lighter, so they’re much easier for telecommuters to take with them while they’re out and about. Cell phones have also gotten smarter, allowing us to video chat with colleagues in the office and log on to apps to keep us organized. Then there are the tablets that let us enjoy similar functionality on a larger screen. With a 2-in-1 laptop, like the Yoga Series from Lenovo, you get the portability of a tablet and the power of a laptop in one device, a perfect combination for telecommuting. The battery power of all these devices has also improved over time, allowing telecommuters to spend more time away from a power outlet, giving them even greater flexibility.

Clever Apps Increase Productivity

Telecommuting has been proven to boost productivity levels, but it’s not just the flexibility and comfort of a home office environment helping people work better outside the office. In recent years we’ve also seen the release of several mobile apps designed to increase productivity. Thanks to these apps, telecommuters can streamline their work processes, track their productivity, organize their information better, and even play music scientifically designed to boost productivity.

Important Files and Systems are Accessible on the Cloud

Most big businesses have embraced cloud computing, but we’ll soon see this technology used in most companies, no matter what their size. A 2014 study released by Emergent Research and Intuit predicted that the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing will more than double from 37 percent to almost 80 percent by 2020. Cloud computing is making it easier for telecommuters to access company information. Many businesses have cloud-based systems that allow remote workers to log on and work with the same interface they would in the office. Company files can also be stored on the cloud, allowing workers to access all the information they need at any time. As technology continues to change, the practice of telecommuting is sure to keep evolving along with it.

Image via Flickr by mikecogh