Are There Differences Between Working Remotely, Telecommuting, and Working from Home?

working remotely

Working remotely, telecommuting, and working from home are synonyms, right? Wrong. 

When searching for an offsite job, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by industry terms and buzzwords. If you’re utilizing Virtual Vocations’ Job Board during your job search, it’s important to take these varying definitions into account, so you know exactly what you’re looking for and what your future employer expects from you.

What Is Working Remotely?

Working remotely is also known as “work from anywhere,” because you truly can work from any place in the world (as long as you have Internet access). Often, remote workers don’t live near their employers, and can produce projects for a variety of companies at one time. Also, remote workers may never meet their supervisors face-to-face, especially if, in addition to working remotely each day, they aren’t required to attend onsite meetings or training sessions. Finally, most (but not all) remote positions allow the employee to work on their own time, whenever they can fit their agreed upon tasks into their schedule, instead of having set office hours.

Because the work is flexible and can be performed from wherever an employee is at a given moment, remote positions are great for students, travelers, or those who have another job that takes up most of their day. Plus, remote workers enjoy the flexibility of being able to work around personal commitments like studying for finals or traveling with a significant other in the military.

One of Virtual Vocations’ team members knows all about traveling with her military spouse. Read more about our Quality Assurance Manager in Peggy’s Staff Story

If you’re interested in working remotely, there are tons of interesting positions to explore. Try searching for freelance jobs in fields like writing or tutoring, or, with a degree, look into the rapidly expanding industry of online teaching. Figure out what your marketable skills are and what works with your schedule, then look for remote positions that will fit you—not the other way around.

working remotely

What Is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting is not the same as working remotely. When you telecommute, often, you are working for a company that is in closer proximity to your home. At times, you may be required to visit the office for meetings, professional development, or other company events. You may even be a telecommuter part of the week and work at an onsite company location some of the time.

Have you been searching for offsite work so that you can travel while still earning income? Take a look at our advice on partial telecommuting: How to Work and See the World.

Some telecommuters opt to co-work by renting local office real estate or paying for a membership to a collaborative work space from which they can work for a company that is out of commutable distance and still engage and interact with similarly minded individuals.

Are you interested in co-working? Check out these 4 Cool Co-working Spaces You Won’t Believe! 

Employers and employees both benefit from telecommuting positions. By not having to provide a designated office space for their telecommuting workers, businesses can save thousands of dollars per employee. Furthermore, employees can save on office clothes, transportation costs, and more, depending on the profession.

There are a myriad of telecommute positions available in dozens of industries, so you’re quite likely to find something you’re interested in if you’re looking for this sort of job.

working remotely

What Is Working from Home?

Working from home is drastically different from telecommuting and working remotely. Although you can telecommute or work remotely at your house, the phrase “work from home” generally refers to a different kind of job. Often, those who work from home own their own business or are independent contractors—meaning that they can choose their own schedules and, sometimes, their own compensation rates. These careers may also be less technology based than remote and telecommute jobs. For instance, someone who works from home could operate an in-home jewelry business, hair salon, or daycare center.

So while some use the term “work from home” to refer to all telecommuting and remote jobs, there are clear differences between these work styles. However, for all their differences, working remotely, telecommuting, and working from home all go hand-in-hand.

working remotely

How Are These Terms Related?

These three career groups share basic requirements. Whether you work remotely, telecommute, or work from home, you must have Internet and phone access, as well as at least a basic knowledge of standard computer functions and the ability to send emails and utilize Microsoft Office.

Offsite workers are also responsible for supplying their own office equipment, accessories, and software. And if they work on an Independent Contractor basis they’ll be expected to provide their own health insurance and pay their own taxes.

Additionally, all of these work models can be great for lifestyles that necessitate scheduling flexibility. If you have children that you want to stay home with, or you’re constantly on-the-go, working away from a centralized office could be the professional solution for you.

Read Why Telecommuting Works for Work-at-Home Moms if you’re searching for further advice on balancing work and family through working remotely, telecommuting, or working from home. 

If you’re interested in any of these career styles, it’s important for you to do your research. Make sure you know what kind of jobs are available, understand which employers hire telecommuters, and stay alert to scams that can affect distance workers. Once you’re ready to start looking, visit the Virtual Vocations Job Board to find the perfect remote, telecommute, or work-from-home position that works for you and your situation.

Are you looking for your own remote, telecommute, or work-from-home job? Tell us about your dream career when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. We’d love to hear from you! 

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VVlogoJoining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Our family-owned company is committed to helping you find quality job leads. We strive to help make your work-at-home job search faster, easier and safer by bringing you scam-free jobs that offer some form of telecommuting or virtual work.

Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background.