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Caution: Telework Ahead

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I walk the talk when it comes to the benefits of telework -- flexibility, work/life balance, it's green, it supports your organization, you are happy, you are productive, yada, yada, yada. I think we all get it. October is National Work and Family Month and telework is such a perfect conversation to have when discussing your daily balancing act. However, before you park the car and start teleworking, I want to set the record straight. It's not all sunshine and roses, you know.

Car Neglect. You sometimes forget you own a car. You may even forget how to drive. The car you once named gets no love anymore. You've spent hours a day together, and now you barely talk. Rather than going to counseling, you might try going out to lunch or maybe hitting up a car wash... At a minimum, at least, start it once in a while.

Pets Talk Back. You are on a conference call. Here comes FedEx. You're not fast enough with the mute button to muffle the barking. Beware of your pet tantrums. As much as I think my dog loves me, I wonder if he gets sick of seeing me all day?

Road Rage Withdrawal. Spouse questions your mood. No traffic = no attitude.

Earlier this year, D.C. area commuters spent upwards of 12 hours in their car during a snowstorm. I doubt those commuters were pleasant when they finally made it home. Without the commute, road rage becomes obsolete. Please note, if your spouse does have a long commute, downplay your telework serenity.

Good Vibrations. No, nothing's wrong. That's called energy. You have more time to eat right and exercise. You are happy. You are productive. You get to listen to the music that you want, sing as loud as you want, and almost nobody cares (see "Pets Talk Back" for exception).

Pajama Jeans. The new fad can start to look good when you telework. Fashion sense may decline. You get to wear what you want, and sometimes you do. Do yourself a favor -- shower and dress every day. It's a slippery slope...

Despite these potential pitfalls, if you really think telework is the answer for you, then it's easy. Telework will change the way you work and change the way you communicate, but it's the right change. It's a win for you, your organization, the environment, and especially your family. For more information on telework and Telework Exchange, visit www.teleworkexchange.com.

Cindy Auten is the general manager for Telework Exchange, and a regular teleworker. She can be reached at cauten@teleworkexchange.com.