Work at Home? Your Employer May Be Watching

Working Solutions' new system goes beyond that to instantly detect and flag such trouble signals as cancellation threats or angry voices, enabling supervisors to jump in on the conversations right away, says Tim Houlne, chief executive of the Plano, Texas, company. If you have been laid off and have not received your last paycheck , immediate payment may be required by state law although it is not required by federal law. However, employers must pay at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and at least time and one half the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. Employees who work with confidential or sensitive data will require special attention, and working from home might be more work risk than it's worth. As the team adjusts to the changes, you can be more liberal with the work-from-home policy. After answering these questions, you should know whether your department should move from "thinking about it" to forming a real work-from-home strategy.

And for some employees, work-from-home benefits may be the difference between an enjoyable and stressful work life. Clayburn Griffin, a digital marketer who finds remote work suits him best, hopes more companies see the benefits that can be gleamed from remote workers, “I really hope employers start to realize this and offer more time to.

1: Can you be available during off-hours?

Peter Weddle, an author, consultant and researcher on employment Web sites, calls the trend "21st Century Big Brotherism" that risks being "horribly intrusive. But while the monitoring can put a damper on home life, many people are so eager to avoid commuting hassles that they see the practice as an acceptable tradeoff. The technology so far affects mainly freelance information-technology workers, writers, graphic-design artists and call-center agents.

But as telecommuting grows amid soaring fuel costs, more people will find themselves on an electronic leash. The monitoring itself may speed the growth, because it tears down one of the biggest obstacles to working at home -- employers' fear that remote workers will slack off. Electronic monitoring is built right into freelance transactions at oDesk. The system takes random snapshots of workers' computer screens six times an hour, records keystrokes and mouse clicks and takes optional Web cam photos of freelancers at work.

Clients can log into the system anytime and see whether contractors are working, what they're doing and how long it's taking them; clients' weekly bills are based largely on the data. A small computer-screen icon pops up at the bottom of workers' screens each time a screen shot is taken. You can't watch YouTube. Because I'm watching you work. The freelancer reduced his bill.

One big oDesk competitor, Elance. Elance recently unveiled a monitoring system of its own that allows freelancers to document their work electronically, but leaves control entirely in freelancers' hands. Several of oDesk's own programmers quit several years ago when the company insisted they submit to monitoring.

But he says none of his oDesk clients has tried to micromanage his work. Freelancers like oDesk's payment system; it takes clients' credit cards up front and, barring a veto from the buyer, pays workers promptly every week, eliminating slow-pay problems. How does working from home affect your home life? Do work pressures cast a pall? Are your spouse or kids stressed by your workaday tensions? Or have you found a way to keep home-and-hearth the relaxed "safe haven" most people desire?

Corporate managers with work-at-home employees also worry about potential slackers, and some have tightened ties with home-office workers by monitoring their use of instant messaging or corporate VPN links.

However, employers typically resist Web cam or keystroke monitoring of their own staffers as too invasive, relying instead on screening telecommuters carefully and setting measurable work objectives. In another sector, call-center companies are tightening the electronic leash on home-based agents, who handle calls for retailing, travel and other clients. Call-routing technology at Arise. Calls flow fastest to the most productive workers. But the coolest part is that Toptal's internal team of engineers is completely distributed as well.

Toptal has no offices whatsoever. Everyone at the company -- from the CEO down to new hires -- works remotely. You can apply as a developer or browse openings on the internal team where everyone works remotely.

No matter how you apply, you can start a career of completely distributed, remote work. This is more of a gig type of job. For Aetna, a working environment is not just about a physical space. Aetna employees work to improve health care quality, lower costs, and connect people to the health information they need.

Many of the company's WFH positions are for nurses who can visit patients at home, but other opportunities include contract-manager, Medicaid-specialist, auditor, analyst, consultant, and medical-coder positions. Job seekers can search career options to find telecommuting positions such as consultant, engineer, manager, and more.

ADP is one of the world's largest providers of business-outsourcing and human-capital management solutions. One amazing opportunity is through the company's Virtual Contact Center, which allows employees to work from home with just a high-speed internet connection, a working landline, and a PC. TeleTech offers many career paths for telecommuters with a flexible work environment.

K12 is an education company that provides web-based interactive classes and learning modules for students in elementary through high school. Kaplan combines entrepreneurial spirit with education by finding innovative ways to help people learn.

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Editors' pick: Originally published June 9. As professionals demand work flexibility, more and more U.S. companies are giving employees the opportunity to work from home. Since , telecommuting. Sometimes the scheduling entails letting on-site employees work from home one or two days a week; but frequently companies hire employees who live in distant states and different time zones. Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Pandemic Flu and the Fair Labor Standards Act: Questions and Answers When not all employees can work from home, we encourage you to consider additional options to promote social distancing, such as .


10 questions to determine whether an employee can work from home Before letting staff members telecommute, consider the answers to these questions about you, your department, and your employees. The problem isn’t whether they are getting work done, it’s that letting employees work from home too often destroys your company culture. In fact, there’s lots of . Tax Tips for Employees Who Work at Home; Tax Tips for Employees Who Work at Home. Updated for Tax Year OVERVIEW. If you're an employee who works at home, you may be eligible for tax deductions that are unavailable to in-office employees. Many employees work from home because it's convenient for their employer. A salesperson .

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