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By Riona Carroll

There are many definitions of teleworking and therefore, much confusion as to what teleworking really is. The 1999 Report of the National Advisory Council on Teleworking (NACT) defines teleworking as "a way of working using information and communication technologies in which work is carried out independent of location". In other words, teleworking can currently and most simply be perceived as using a computer, modem and telephone line to send work from place A to place B, rather than the worker going to place B to do the work.
Using today's enabling technologies, teleworkers can work on the move, from a satellite office, a telecentre or be home based.
Teleworking offers many significant advantages to the teleworker, including:-

Teleworking has also huge potential for positive environmental and economic impact in terms of reduction of gridlock, overcrowding and urban congestion.

In addition, teleworking offers benefits to the employer in terms of increased productivity, staff loyalty and reductions in fixed overheads.

It is important to be aware that teleworking is not a job per se, but is a way of doing a job or delivering a skill. Examples of skills currently being teleworked by Telework Ireland members include data processing, translations, event management, sales management, web site design, software development and localisation.

In addition, it is important - if starting to telework or considering the introduction of teleworking into an organisation - to remember that this is a process which requires advance thought and preparation, and where difficulties which may arise or be aggravated through the distance factors inherent in teleworking, be anticipated and managed so as to maximise the potential benefit of teleworking to all concerned.