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Is it for you? 

The idea of getting out bed that little bit later and not having to face the daily grind of commuting to work is by far the most obvious advantage of teleworking.

All of us spend an ever-increasing chunk of our working week behind the wheel of a car or waiting at a bus stop that it's no wonder Swindon's roads are becoming even more clogged-up in the morning and afternoon - and the situation doesn't look like getting any better.

Cutting down the wasted time travelling back-and-forth to work is therefore the first priority of many who have chosen to work from home, especially those who live more than an hour away from their place of work.

Unfortunately, 'Can I cut down my commuting time?' is not the key question you must ask yourself before comtemplating a change in your work routine. Everyone wants to cut their communting time down, it doesn't mean they should work from home one day a week.
That key question has to be:

- Can you realistically do the job from home?

- Can you realistically do the job from home?

Quite obviously, if your job involves doing a lot of things face-to-face with your customers and colleagues then working from home is not for you. Similiarly, if your job involves a lot of supervision of others it's probably not the best option either.

So who is it good for? Designers, yes. Sales people, yes. Face-to-face people. yes. Because teleworking and the advancement in communication via the Internet is the chance to change the way we do things - things we always did a certain way because we thought that was the proper way to do it without trying anything else.

Do you need to spend so much of your time conducting face-to-face meetings with people? Would a simple email reply suffice? Can the people you supervise get on better without you? Could instant messaging or simply telephoning keep you in touch sufficiently well to know what's going on?

These are all questions that can now be asked - and should be asked.

But even if the answers point to being able to work from home and still maintain, or even improve, your job efficiently.....

- is working at home really the right place to be?

This is the real crux for many. The person at work in an office environment mixing with collegues and interacting with other people might be a far more productive individual than the same person at home with only the cat for company, even without all the distractions that go with a traditional workplace.

Other possible drawbacks include:

- Difficulty separating work from family life. How will your partner or kids react to you being around during the week?

- The cost of paying for your own milk, tea etc and even electricity. It may sound small, but it adds up.

- Will you be tempted to work at weekends?

The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages for many, but they only realise it after they've tried it, which is no bad thing.

The overall ideal is to do both. To mix the two. If your job suits it, one day at home in every week to crack on with certain projects and four in the office to put it into practice can really pay dividends.

In essence, then, the decision to work from home is all about being honest with yourself. If you feel more happy on your own and not worrying about being 'out-of-the-loop', even for a day, then teleworking maybe exactly what you need. If not, then who's asking?

But even before you've made your decision, the first hurdle is persuading the boss that it's a good idea - and that's a totally different matter!

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