Telecommute and Hurt Your Career

Posted on January 30, 2007

A article says that telecommuting may make things easier but it is unlikely to help your career. In fact, telecommuters are less likely to get a promotion than commuters.
You may be surprised to learn that most executives say those who work from home for an employer are less likely to get promoted than their desk-tethered counterparts.

But Julie Kampf isn't. Kampf, the president of Englewood-based executive search firm JBK Associates Inc., knows first-hand how tough on a career telecommuting can be. She tried it and suffered, and she has seen qualified job candidates get overlooked because they dared to inquire about working from home � even for one day a week.

"For me, working at home was detrimental,'' says Kampf, who declined to name the employer. She says that when she worked from home in 1993, she put in about 15 hours each workday, and still couldn't please the boss. "Even though I was extremely productive, I was pretty much told 'I need to see your face here' by my boss at the time,'' she said. "It was miserable.''
The article cites a Korn/Ferry International survey of 1,300 exeuctives that found 61% said telecommuters were less likely to get a promotion than people that regularly came into the office.

A Network World article about the study explains how it flys in the face of what more and more workers are doing -- telecommuting.
The study's results fly in the face though of a growing movement. Since 1990, the number of teleworkers has grown to more than 45 million from about 4 million says the Telework Coalition. Even President Bush and other top administrators have championed telework as a vital part of business-continuity plans. Gas prices, traffic congestion and housing costs are also factors driving telecommuting.
If the study is correct there may be a simple out of sight out of mind explanation. The executives see the cubicle and desk workers much more frequently and get to know them better making it more likely they will get a promotion. Meanwhile the telecommuters stay out of sight and may be less familiar to some of the executives and managers that give the promotions.