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Doing Their Jobs from Home – Three Telecommuters Tell Their Stories


The technology revolution has made it easier than ever for companies to support a mobile workforce. For many companies, that means allowing some employees to do some or all of their jobs from home. David, Tony and Christine are three of the new breed of work at home professionals who do all or most of their jobs from home. Each of the three works for a different company in far different fields, but all three do a significant portion of their jobs from home.

Tony had worked as a web designer and programmer for an internet service provider in Massachusetts for nearly ten years when he had the opportunity to move out to Nevada for a year. “Because we’re a small company, every employee is like a member of the family. I had the full support of management in my decision to move to the Southwest.”

Part of the reason that Tony’s company is so accepting of employees doing their jobs from home is the web-based management system that Tony helped design. It’s accessed via a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, and allows Tony and other employees who are doing their jobs from home to enter information and content directly into the company database. “I also stay in touch through instant messengers throughout the day,” Tony adds. “So if there’s a problem or question, my boss or other employees can have an answer even more quickly than if they had to walk downstairs to my office in the building.”

David is an accounting manager for a mid-size company in Missouri. Last year, when his son was born, he and his wife took turns with their parental leave to stay home with Bailey – but when their leaves were used up, neither wanted three month old Bailey to end up in daycare. “Since Lisa’s job as a third grade teacher really can’t be phoned in,” David says, “We decided that I was the one who’d try to work my job from home. My boss was hesitant, but willing – we’d done something similar when one of the administrative assistants was on maternity leave.”

Like Tony’s company, David’s business maintains many of their records on a virtual private network that David can access via the internet. That allows him to manage the company books from home, and the VPN even gives him access to one of the printers at work. “Three times a week, my boss sends out all the incoming mail by messenger. I prepare the invoices and bills, run reports and do just about everything else I’d do at the office from home, and post it to the network for printing. Meanwhile, I’m here with Bailey and get to be part of all his important milestones.”

Christine lives in Oregon, but works for a company whose headquarters are in Honk Kong. Nearly all of the company’s employees do their jobs from home. In a turnaround on the more usual scenario, the Hong Kong company outsources all their database entry work to work at home moms and others around the world. Christine started out doing database entry, but these days she’s doing full English language admin support for the three owners of the company. “I do their press releases, book plane reservations, write business letters and manage all communications from the other side of the world,” Christine says. “We use email, instant messenger and an FTP server to transfer important documents and keep in touch throughout the day. If other people knew how easy it was to do their jobs from home, everyone would be doing it!”



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› Things to Think About

For those who are looking for flexible jobs, employment that fits their family schedule and ways to make money that don’t tie them to a nine-to-five rat race, working from home is increasingly a realistic option. It’s difficult these days to raise a family on a single income, but many parents still feel that it’s important to have the freedom to attend school conferences and plays, and be there when their children get home from school.