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Technology has enabled rapid adoption of telework (also called telecommuting) since the turn of the century. Telework happens when an employee or volunteer regularly does their work outside of the office, usually at home or when traveling.
It has transformed the workplace. In fact, nearly half of U.S. workers now have telework-compatible jobs.
At TechSoup, it has enabled us to hire gifted people who live and work in far-flung places, and yet still do great work on behalf of charities and libraries. In this series of blog posts, TechSoup staff will share our telework experience.
I worked remotely full-time during much of 2014 when my husband and I relocated to Brazil for nine months. During that time, our fund development team brought on a new staff member, whom I on-boarded and supervised remotely. I had quite a bit of experience being managed by remote staff at TechSoup, but this was my first time managing someone remotely myself.
I had to accommodate the six-hour time difference between Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco by adjusting my workday so that I could be on call during San Francisco work hours.
I also initiated a lot of meetings, as I knew it would be important to keep in touch and have enough human contact during the day. This helped to stave off loneliness while working from home!
During my time in Brazil, I participated in meetings as much if not more frequently than when I am in the home office. I mainly used TechSoup donor products: the Skype chat application; and ReadyTalk audio, web, and video conferencing services.
When working remotely, I use Skype chat very frequently for quick questions or to set up meeting times, and I use ReadyTalk for the actual multiple-person meetings.
The main benefit for me from telework is head space! I need time for thinking and processing and writing, without distractions. Also, I found that working from home was incredibly productive — also due to fewer distractions and more focus and clarity.
Now that I am back in the Bay Area, I work remotely on occasion, usually when I need to write a grant proposal, report, article, or other piece that requires more quiet and focus.
I think telework is a huge benefit that TechSoup is able to extend to employees, allowing them the opportunity to keep the job they love in spite of relocation. It is also an important vote of confidence, that management trusts employees and trusts the systems to allow for flexible arrangements.
This post is part one of three. Read the second part on how Eli van der Giessen, community organizer, makes telework work for him, and the third part, on Michael Enos' experience and recommendations.
Image 1: TechSoup
Image 2: Jessica Galeria
Image 3: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock
Image 4: Goran Djukanovic / Shutterstock
When its volunteers (unpaid staff) engaged in telework, it's known as virtual volunteering, digital volunteering, e-volunteering, etc. TechSoup involves a lot of remote volunteers via its TechSoup Community Forum, and discussions frequently revolve around what tools they are using in both paid and unpaid remote work: forums.techsoup.org/.../f
Telework is something I've been doing since 2003. I work remotely as a consultant for many clients. One of the tools I like using to set up meetings is Calendly (http://calendly.com). There's no shortage of fancy tools out there, and I often find myself trying out the latest ones.
Here's a telework tale that might surprise you: The telephone is one of my top three tools for telework. Sounds pretty unexciting, doesn't it? Well, it is. My goal wasn't to come here with a list of amazing tools, but rather to make the point that sometimes the simplest tools are all you need to get the job done.
In my work as an online marketing professional, I use my landline telephone more often in one week than I use Skype in a year.
Skype and Google chat has been my go to tools for communicating with my South African partners. I plan to look into the Ready Talk audio platform as well after reading this feature.
Hi Jim, very nice post! I co-founded vyte.in, a free scheduling tool, while I was leaving in Sao Paulo in Brazil and had to work with people in France. Give it a try! It's free and featured on TechCrunch : https://www.vyte.in/meet