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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, e-mail 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 ?
Barney Spender, managing editor of Office@Home, says: "Our magazine provides a vital voice for the flourishing home workers market, which is the future for business in the 21st century.
A GREAT SEND-OFF: Care home worker Jean Mellor, aged 70, at her farewell presentation at St Martin's.
Many were from care home workers detailing abuse they had witnessed.
She cited the example of a home worker whose computer was damaged when a burst pipe caused a leak in the bathroom above her office.
For landlords who are interested in capitalising on this trend, Belvoir has identified the key components that need to be considered when creating an attractive home working area: Ample phone and electrical sockets - any home worker will need a phone and internet connection and possibly a fax machine.
Nearly 1,000 Beverly nursing home workers went on strike last April protesting hundreds of federal labor law violations in the biggest nursing home worker strike in Pennsylvania history.
Setting targets and monitoring outputs rather than the hours worked is a more effective approach to managing a home worker.
Approximately 130 nursing home worker members of Michigan's largest health care union, Service Employees International Union Local 79, will take a strike vote today at the Beverly Hills nursing home in Royal Oak (3030 Greenfield) and the Menorah House nursing home in Southfield (26715 Greenfield).
Dave Snapp, SEIU's Nursing Home Campaign Director said, "This settlement is another big win for our Dignity, Rights and Respect campaign, which is conducting a massive drive to increase pay and benefits for the nation's nursing home worker and give them a voice in improving working conditions as well as patient care.
Approximately 800 nursing home worker members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 79 will hold demonstrations against eight nursing homes across the state on Thursday, September 7 from 2:30 p.
I cut down on spending and save - Janet Hughes, 60, a care home worker from Middlesbrough I'm not working at the moment but I would still try not to get into debt.