1. Health

Telecommuting

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Updated January 01, 2012

Telecommuting

One employment option is working from home.

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The Internet has opened the doors to a lot of opportunities for people who want to put their skills and talents to use in the comfort of their homes by telecommuting. Freelancers, single mothers and individuals who are confined at home due to illnesses and disability have found an ally in the World Wide Web.

Who Telecommutes?

According to The Telework Coalition, an estimated 100 million U.S. workers are telecommuters. Employers such as Ford, Delta, Intel and Industry Canada claim that their productivity increased when they started to hire teleworkers.

Telecommuting jobs are usually associated with freelancers and private consultants, though many people in various jobs from banking to online psychologists perform their work by telecommuting. Computers, the Internet and cell phones have made telecommuting a viable way to earn a living.

The disabled are among those who benefit from the existing technologies. Without the Internet and cell phones, some, if not most of them would have been stuck at home, unable to do what they were trained to do. In short, their talents would have been wasted.

Financial Independence

Telecommuting has given the disabled a chance to achieve financial independence and the freedom to set-up an alternative workplace. Instead of relying solely on government assistance, they can add to their income by this currently unconventional mode of working.

The Ideal Workplace

For many disabled individuals, traveling and working a regular schedule is difficult. If they take pain medications, driving is not an option. Sitting for long periods of time can make a traditional job difficult, if not impossible. Working from home provides them with the comfort of being able to lie down as needed, and the security of not having to navigate the outside world while on medications that may hinder their cognitive skills.

Telecommuting gives individuals a large measure of control over their schedules. In the United States, companies hire persons with disabilities to do telecommuting work to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. By hiring the disabled and accommodating their special needs, they may retain highly qualified workers and in some cases, lower their costs because telecommuters do not take up a workspace at the businesses’ location.

Some employers still require their telecommuting employees to report to work from time to time. In this set-up, the employee is given tasks that can be done at home or in the office. The Midwest Institute for Telecommuting Education encourages employers to have their teleworkers report to the office periodically, to ensure work is being done according to specifications, and to include telecommuting employees in meetings where their input is needed.

Telecommuting Advocates

One of the biggest advocates of telecommuting is the Telecommuting Safety and Health Benefits Institute (THSBI). Its mission is to promote telecommuting as a means of saving lives, reducing injuries and improving health towards a better quality of life. Though unfunded, this institute created by Rick Johnson remains active in its campaign among private sector companies and the government.

Many companies are also coming to realize that keeping a trained employee on through a telecommuting job is less expensive than hiring and training new employees. Persons with other disabilities, as well as women with young children, may be able to keep their current jobs as telecommuting becomes an accepted method of employment.

A willingness to work at home does not mean that this kind of job is for everyone. Individuals that succeed in this type of work are usually self-motivated and can organize their schedules effectively. People who need others for constant support may do better working at a regular job that has the flexibility they require in a traditional workplace.

If you are disabled and are interested in returning to work, there may be telecommuting positions available locally, nationally or even internationally. Check with your local Social Security Administration’s office to find out what options are available to you. Alternatively, search the Internet for telecommuting positions by using the search terms “telecommuting” or “telecommuting jobs”, along with any other terms that describe the type of job you are interested in.

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