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Seven Reasons Women Work Remotely

Is this an option for you?

I co-manage a team of six female professionals, all of whom work remotely, and I have been working remotely myself for the last ten years. At iRelaunch, we have worked with employers of all sizes with remote workforces, from those with global populations of at least 200,000 (IBM, Accenture) to smaller operations (85Broads, Mom Corps). The large employers cite reduced real estate and other associated operational costs by having employees work out of their homes or at client sites. Shared, unassigned office space is used only when necessary. Smaller companies simply find the need to congregate in a common office space unnecessary and even confining.

But what about the employees themselves? What do they like about the remote work arrangement? An unofficial poll of female remote workers revealed seven reasons women like working remotely:

1.  NO COMMUTE

Far and away the biggest perk is the lack of commute. No time is wasted in getting to or from the workplace when home is the workplace. This means an extra one to three hours a day in productive work time rather than on the road.  An added benefit:  remote workers do not experience residual aggravation from any road rage encountered along the way! The cost savings of gas, parking, and auto wear-and-tear seal the deal.

2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRESS FOR THE OFFICE

….or get dressed at all! While we are not promoting the naked workplace, not having to dress for work is another time saver and is certainly more comfortable. However, those who can’t get in business mode while wearing pajamas, or who have meetings during the day, can’t always escape this one. No dress code also means big savings, as a limited work wardrobe is required for in-person meetings and events.

3. SEAMLESS INTEGRATION OF WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE

Remote workers can slip out to pick up a child or bring a meal to an elderly mother-in-law and then resume working nearly seamlessly during the work day.  Dinner can be started while reviewing email. For those with kids, school vacations, snow days, sick days and early dismissals are not as disruptive. Those pursuing personal goals normally conflicting with the traditional work day, such as triathlon training, can make it happen.

Note that flexibility is a feature of many, but not all work from home arrangements.  For example, those who are in customer service roles may work from home, but need to be at their desks and producing within designated time periods.

4. EFFICIENT AND PRODUCTIVE WORK TIME WITH FEW INTERRUPTIONS

No water cooler chat, no office parties, no people dropping by…..means productivity increases and work gets done more efficiently.

5. YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT IS YOUR OWN

Remote workers who prefer to stand up while giving a radio interview, who pace back and forth while negotiating by phone, and who practice presentations out loud can proceed unencumbered, without disturbing fellow workers. Also, the remote office is more likely to be portable, even allowing remote workers to be responsive during power outages or natural disasters. Move the office to a safe place and don't miss a beat at work.  

6.  SEEING COLLEAGUES IN PERSON IS AN EXTRA SPECIAL TREAT

At bigger companies with remote workforces, it is not atypical for an employee to get hired and start working for a person in another location before they have met. These employees look forward to opportunities to see each other in person. On our own team at iRelaunch, members are based in Colorado, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia. We only get to see each other four times a year at our return to work conferences held around the country. It is always a celebration!

7. REMOTE WORKERS ARE HAPPIER

See this WSJ article citing a 2007 survey showing telecommuters are the most satisfied with their jobs and employers.

We'd like to hear from YOU. Why do you work remotely?

This commentary is part of Microsoft's Your Office, Your Terms Forum  – http://msft.it/YOYT  #Blog #YO 

photo credit:  iStockphoto

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