One of the first hurdles a prospective teleworker must overcome is the assumption (usually by "the boss") that one's work is intimately tied to one's location: we call that location dependence—you can't do your work unless you're rooted to your desk or some other well-determined spot. In our years of analysis of the realities of work we have found that many kinds of jobs comprise tasks that are location independent; the work can be done regardless (almost) of the location of the worker. Successful telework requires a high degree of location independence.
Clearly, this requirement eliminates dentists, ditch diggers, farm laborers, fishermen and many other types of jobs as prospects for teleworking because their work is location dependent. That works out to roughly two of every five workers in developed countries, and a larger fraction in developing countries. That's the bad news. The good news is that the rest, about three of every five jobs in developed countries, have the potential for at least some frequency of teleworking.
Hence this test (part of our Telepicker service for prospective employers of teleworkers). Here you can determine for yourself roughly how much success in your job depends on where you are when you do it. It is important in this test to think about your job in terms of how it could be arranged (given the same number of required tasks) rather than how it is now.
With that in mind, please tell us about the nature of your job with respect to its requirements for you to be in a specific location (note that we do not retain any of your personal data, including your name, although we do keep statistics on the distribution of job characteristics).
For more detailed advice, email us.
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Last modified: Monday September 26, 2011.