Remote Work vs Telecommuting: Is there a difference?

Now that most people worldwide have had a taste of what regular work is like outside of a traditional office, and as terms such as remote work, telecommuting, and work from home start becoming more common, it is important to clarify the differences between the terms in order to understand them and use them in a correct manner. 

This will help you not only have more interesting conversations on these topics, but they might come in handy when sorting through jobs that use these terms. In this article the focus will be on remote work vs telecommuting, since working from home is pretty self-explanatory. 

Remote work vs Telecommuting

Although these two terms seem to be interchangeable because most people think they are exactly the same thing, and even if they do have some things in common, the fact is that remote work and telecommuting are two different concepts.  

Working remotely and telecommuting both imply that work does not take place inside a traditional office. Now it is important to clarify that working outside of the office doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be working from home.  

Both telecommuting and working remotely have many advantages such as giving workers more freedom to set their own hours and to choose their work location according to what suits their style best. 

Today there are many options for remote workers and telecommuters such as booking a coworking space, reserving a meeting or conference room, or even getting a virtual office address and doing their actual work wherever in the world they choose to. 

Another advantage for telecommuters and remote workers is the fact that the flexibility this type of work gives them the chance to balance their work and personal lives. They can pick up their kids at school, have lunch at home with their family every day, or even take care of an ill child. 

But the greatest advantage to both workers and companies that encourage remote work is the fact that workers are more productive when not working in a traditional office. It’s not surprising that workers will thrive if you remove all the interruptions and distractions that they are exposed to every day at the office. Of course there are some who perform better when there is a low level of activity around and the beauty of remote work and telecommuting is that they can choose to work at a park or coffee shop. 

Then there are some who work better in very specific conditions such as on a train, at a busy airport or a library. The beauty of telecommuting is that anything goes, as long as it works for you. 

But what is the difference between remote work and telecommuting then? 

The difference is that as a remote worker all of your work gets done outside the traditional office, while a telecommuter may be required to get at least some on-site work done. 

Another, less striking difference between the two terms is the fact that the term “telecommuting” is not as popular as it once was, while “remote work” is considered to be more modern and is a better search term when looking for a job that is flexible when it comes to where you work.


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