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Telecommuting breaks the 40-hour work week mold

Telecommuting is, in essence, a break from convention. For decades, we knew exactly what to expect from a full-time job: business casual, cubicles, water coolers and eight hours a day glued to our swivel chairs. However, virtual offices have disrupted many of those conventions, and led telecommuters to design work schedules that fit their productivity habits. As a result, many wonder whether the 40-hour work week is becoming a thing of the past in a virtual office

"The reality today is that not every position needs to be worked nine-to-five, Monday through Friday, by an employee in an office," writes Dan Finnigan in Inc. Magazine. "Some jobs are, in fact, better suited for part-time contractors or telecommuters who can work from home. The trick is to know in advance which jobs adapt best for contract or home-based employment, so you can shape your hiring tactics appropriately."

It was once very easy for managers to measure the number of hours employees dedicated to a job each week by their physical presence in an office. Supervisors who oversee telecommuters have a more nebulous time clock to follow. Often, telecommuters operate on the good faith that their work will get done on deadline, and it's up to them to budget time in such a way that ensures work is completed in a timely fashion. 

In reality, many telecommuters report working more hours each week than their brick-and-mortar office counterparts. Because they're often free to work at night and early morning before 9 a.m., the total number of hours adds up to a surprisingly high figure. For that reason, jobs in virtual offices should meet a new standard of expectations for time management: rather than insisting on a fixed amount of time noses are pressed to the grindstone, they should see how well the materials are being ground. 

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