At your Convenience: Teleworking

At your Convenience: Teleworking

It’s Monday morning, yet Kingshuk Hazra, an Industry Analyst in Gartner India, does not suffer the blues. Instead, he is looking forward to beginning his work day. All he does is sit on a comfortable chair, plug in his laptop and begin working. In other words, he leaves for office without actually leaving. For individuals like Kingshuk, home is not only where the heart is, but also where the office is.

The information economy has made it possible to work remotely. Since a large element of the value added by any business comes from the processing and management of information, at least some aspects of its operation can now be done independent of geographical location. In the world of digital communications, you are never in the wrong place to do your work. You can access the information you need anywhere – from a remote satellite office or local business centre, from a client’s premises, from home, from a hotel room or whilst on the move in a train or car. This way of working has come to be known as teleworking.

Teleworking is an innovative arrangement that not only saves valuable resources but also leads to increased productivity. For example, with the help of low-cost videoconferencing and data-conferencing from ordinary desktop computers, Teleworking can help to reduce the amount of travel undertaken by people both to work and in the course of work. This way, Teleworking reduces drastically, if not altogether eliminates, the amount of business travel employees undertake, in the process saving time and money.
Benefits of Teleworking
While teleworking certainly makes good business sense (saving valuable resources and increasing productivity) it also helps in improving the quality of life of the teleworker. Teleworkers avoid the stress associated with daily-commuting. There is greater flexibility to integrate your work with your home life.

Employees based in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, where it takes anywhere between two to three hours travelling to and from work, would save on hours of productivity by teleworking.

In India, there is tremendous scope for teleworking, especially in the IT industry, thanks to the nature of work involved – coding, software development, data entry, web design, and medical transcription, among others. Writers/editors, financial analysts, stock brokers, management consultants and graphic designers can also become successful teleworkers.

Some categories of workers can benefit immensely from Teleworking. For instance, mothers of young children who cannot remain away from home for long will find teleworking a rather attractive proposition. Similarly, it is a real boon for people suffering from any form of physical disability.

Teleworking is also a great model for small entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals operating SOHOs. Such individuals find obvious benefits in teleworking: saving office rentals, reaching out to a wider, potentially worldwide audience and networking with other self-employed individuals running SOHOs. The Internet presents immense opportunities to do business on a global as well as on a local basis. A well-presented Web site, backed by appropriate payment arrangements and a high standard of response to enquiries and orders, can be the self-employed teleworker’s shop window for attracting potential customers and doing business with them. For a customer doing business across the Internet, it matters not whether you are in a prestige office building or in your office over the garage. What matters is how you present your business and the value it delivers.

What makes a good teleworker?
Self motivation, an ability to work without close supervision and good time-management skills are an absolute must for any teleworker. Good communication skills and being Internet savvy are also pre-requisites. A good teleworker would possess the uncanny ability to cope with conflicting demands of home and work life.

Teleworkers is suited to individuals who are happy working by themselves, without colleagues and companions.

Scope for Teleworking
In India, organisations like Hewlett-Packard, NIIT and Datamatics Technologies have experimented alternate work options like flexi-time, telecommuting and teleworking. For example, Datamatics Technologies passes on data-entry assignments from its international clients to its network of vendors working from home. Datamatics picks and delivers the assignments from the vendor’s doorstep.

Forbes Marshall, Gartner India, Monsanto Chemicals India, India Software Group (a Birla Group IT company), Maars Software are other companies who have experimented with teleworking.

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