Dream of working from your local coffee shop? The number of telecommuters has dramatically increased in recent years. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Dream of working from your local coffee shop? The number of telecommuters has dramatically increased in recent years.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more and more workers are now putting in a full days work miles away from a conventional office.

In an editorial for the tech news site Re/Code, Josh Tolan (the CEO of the video interview service Spark Hire) notes that studies have shown that companies can save nearly $2000 an employee by allowing them to telecommute and that virtual workers also tend to work longer hours than those who go into the office.

A 2009 survey by Consumer Technographics found that 34 million Americans work from home at least some of the time. By 2016, that number is expected to jump to 63 million workers.

 

As with any dramatic change to company culture, Tolan also points out that hiring for a remote employee can be a little different than what recruiters may be used to. "You need to look for candidates who are motivated, passionate, top-notch communicators, and extremely independent and self-directed," he writes. "You can’t hire someone who needs their hand to be held at every step of the process, because mentorship will be significantly harder in a virtual setting."

Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.

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