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an arrangement by which people work at home using a computer and telephone, accessing work-related materials at a business office, or transmitting materials to an office, by means of a Internet connection; it is also known as telework. Telecommuting hours can range from the occasional morning or afternoon to nearly full-time work. Although the term "telecommuting" was coined in the early 1970s, the practice only became popular in the 1990s as personal computerspersonal computer
(PC), small but powerful computer primarily used in an office or home without the need to be connected to a larger computer. PCs evolved after the development of the microprocessor made possible the hobby-computer movement of the late 1970s, when some computers
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 became more affordable and the InternetInternet, the,
international computer network linking together thousands of individual networks at military and government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, industrial and financial corporations of all sizes, and commercial enterprises (called gateways
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 became more accessible. Initially conducted using a modemmodem
[modulator/demodulator], an external device or internal electronic circuitry used to transmit and receive digital data over a communications line normally used for analog signals.
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 and telephone lines, telecommuting was made more feasible by cable and fiber-optic Internet connections. The development of lightweight portable computers and, later, smart phones also increased the ease of telecommuting. Government agencies and environmental groups have encouraged telecommuting because it reduces pollution, saves gasoline, and creates a less congested commuting environment. Companies have used telecommuting as a way of keeping valued employees who might otherwise be lost due to relocation or commuting stress. Although some people feel they can be more productive when working at home, others prefer an office environment.


The practice of working at home and communicating with your fellow workers through the phone, typically with a computer and modem. Telecommuting saves the employee getting to and from work and saves the employer from supplying support services such as heating and cleaning, but it can also deprive the worker of social contact and support.


Working at home and communicating with the office by phone, email and video conferencing. At the beginning of the 21st century, more than 30 million Americans were telecommuting at least one day a week. Also called "teleworking" and "e-working."

Telecommuting Goes Way Back
In the 1960s, information technology was one of the first industries to let employees telecommute. A small number of programmers worked at home one or more days a week; however, the only link to the office was the telephone. There were no modems attached to desktop computers because there were no desktop computers. A few programmers may have had the luxury of a terminal connected to a mainframe or minicomputer, but the majority wrote source code using pencil and paper. They later created the input by "punching cards" and testing the program at a local datacenter. See virtual company, telecity, ROWE and hoteling.

A Lot Has Changed
Today, telecommuters can emulate "being there" with devices such as the Double from Double Robotics. See telepresence. (Image courtesy of Double Robotics, Inc.,
References in periodicals archive ?
Allowing employees to work from home can be good for holding on to talented staff and boosting productivity.
6% of disabled people in employment already work from home.
While responding to Yahoo's action, the proponents of work from home were vociferous about its employee benefits (Swisher 2013b).
The program has been embraced in all of iiNet s offices across Australia from staff able to work from home in Wollongong rather than commute an hour to the Sydney CBD to CSRs who work in Mandurah instead of iiNet s head office in Subiaco.
Grant writing is one of those opportunities, and with more than $500 billion available in grants each year, matching organizations that need money to funders who are giving away money is both profitable and fun for people who want to work from home.
The service is free and displays only legitimate work from home jobs.
The research reveals that remote working is helping staff stay out of the red, with nearly two-thirds citing they are financially better off because they have the flexibility to work from home.
The pressures of the rat race mean that many people want to work from home permanently or occasionally.
There is a trend toward making jobs more mobile and permitting employees to have remote access to work from home," says Jane Anderson, director of Midwest Institute of Telecommuting, a nonprofit consultancy that assists employers and employees with designing telework programs.
With recent research showing that Britons spend more than pounds 4000 a year on commuting, food, drink and work clothing, it's little surprise that almost one in two men (48 per cent) and a third of women (37 per cent) plan to take advantage of improvements to broadband services and other technologies to work from home.