Four challenges work-from-home parents will recognize


Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.


But technology is making working from home a viable option for many industries. A Gallup poll found almost half of employed Americans, or 43 percent, spend some time working remotely. “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the report said. Today, more than 60 percent of organizations allow some type of teleworking, compared with a mere 20 percent just two decades ago.
[With a flexible work schedule, it’s hard to work out how much childcare coverage we need]

Not everyone is on board with telecommuting or even knows how to define it.

A company where I once interviewed touted a “very flexible work schedule.” When I asked if this meant employees sometimes worked from home, the hiring manager said no. “We’re all in the office before 8 a.m. and try to leave by 6 p.m. But if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the morning or something, we’ll let you, and you can make that time up later. We’re very flexible.”

WordPress.com, owned by Automattic, recently closed its physical San Francisco office because hardly anyone showed up in person. On the other hand, in 2013, Yahoo ended its work-from-home policy, and so did IBM last year, for thousands of its staff.

Telecommuting has lots of perks, especially for parents. We get to spend more time with family while staying on a career track, retaining an income and holding on to the jobs we love. No more two-hour commutes, no more of that pumping soundtrack echoing through the fluorescent-light-flooded conference room and the entire office. Remote work, however, isn’t without challenges.

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Masha Rumer is a writer and a communications professional, as well as a mom of two toddlers. She can be found at www.masharumer.com and @mashaDC.


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