Setting Boundaries When TelecommutingSave as Favorite
We frequently discuss the benefits of telecommuting at Cancer and Careers. Working from home can help to give you more flexible hours to work through treatment, reduce your commute, and provide more comfort than an office setting might. Additionally, as our career coach Kathy Flora explains, "It may provide you with the option of working for a firm at a considerable distance from your home without having to relocate [and] . . . may offer you the option of landing a job utilizing your unique skills that may not be in demand in your current location."
However, as a new study coming out of the University of Texas at Austin has found, telecommuting can often lead to longer work hours. In fact, most of the respondents surveyed answered that working remotely adds an extra five to seven hours to their work week compared with those who work exclusively at the office. This is due to a variety of factors, including creative work schedules and answering emails at all hours.
To help set boundaries and enjoy a workable, successful structure for telecommuting, we suggest a few different things. One, talk to your employer and set up an agreement that sets down exactly what hours you'll be working. Also discuss how you'll be reachable, whether email or phone, how you'll indicate when you are away from your desk, and what your equipment needs are. And you may want to re-evaluate this arrangement periodically to make sure that it is still working for you as you work through treatment or return to the workforce.