Record number of Americans working from home - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Record number of Americans working from home

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Rush hour traffic happens twice a day. But not everyone faces that bumper-to bumper madness. As many as 30 million Americans work from home at least once each week, according to Telework Research Network.

That number is expected to skyrocket in the next five years. Some telecommuters say they wouldn't have it any other way. From self-employed entrepreneurs to people who work for large corporations, they agree working from home increases productivity. That's if, of course, you're good at self-discipline and time management.

Richard Healy, a project manager for a computer company called the NCR Corporation, makes calls, sets up meetings with his team.

"They can just send you an instant message very much like a text message...people do get in the habit of communicating with you via email," Healy says.

Healy says some of his company's employees go into the office two or three days out of the wee. That flexible arrangement is a good fit for Healy and his team members. He insists working in an office setting promotes collaboration among employees.

"When you are bringing people together who are new or new to a project, you want to make sure you get that concurrence," he says.

But he warns of too much collaboration.

"Someone comes in on Monday, and says 'Hi, how was your weekend?' And you get into a little bit of chit-chat. That's very nice because you are building a team but you are also wasting time," Healy says.

Saving on driving in rush hour traffic and saving at the gas pump make some telecommuters happy. According to the Telework Research Network, 47 percent of people who have the option to telework are very satisfied. That's compared to 27 percent who are office-bound.

Entrepreneur Alisa Beckwith-Ayilliath runs a full-time voice-over business. She has 12-year-old twins and a newborn.

"I needed to be here as a mother but I also needed to have my own identity as a wife, as a mother, and I needed to be Alisa," she says.

The biggest disadvantage to telecommuting, she says, the home office never closes.

"You can at least come home and flip on a television and not feel guilty, or whatever the case may be, but in my case my work is always here," she says.

And there's always work to do no matter where you do it.

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