(MoneyWatch) Telecommuting can be a wonderful solution for people who live far from their office or want a flexible work schedule and environment. But it's not a one-size-fits-all fix.
I recently spoke about this with David Clemons, co-author with Michael Kroth of "Managing the Mobile Workforce." Clemons and Kroth have helped executives at mega-corporations like Samsung, Deloitte, and KPMG manage telecommuting employees. And while Clemons clearly believes in working remotely, he agrees that it's not for everyone. Here are four reasons why telecommuting might stall your career:
Your company isn't set up for it. If your company offers you a telecommuting option, take a look at the infrastructure in place for working remotely. For instance, Clemons says managers need to provide off-site employees clear expectations, work flow, and field support. Otherwise, you'll quickly fall out of the loop and eventually flounder.
You don't like working alone. Do you pack your weekends full of social and family activities because you dislike solitude? Or do you make it a priority to get solo time to recharge your batteries or get some work done? "If you think you need many people to interact with, be present with, and face-to-face with to 'feel' part of the team, you might reconsider going mobile," says Clemons.
You don't communicate well virtually. Are you best in face-to-face meetings when you can look someone in the eye? You may get tired of conference calls, phone check-ins, and email. If you do choose to telecommute but prefer meeting with people in person, make that a priority. Working remotely doesn't necessarily mean you can't come into the office on a regular basis.
You're not self-motivated. Be honest with yourself: If no one is watching, will you not only get the job done, but push yourself to be better? Unfortunately, recent research has shown that telecommuters tend to get smaller raises and promoted less often than their of office-going colleagues. If you need a boss or even office rivalries to get your competitive spirit going, you may want to reconsider working from home.