Get your remote working terminology right


Remote working is very visible in the news at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many people to work from home. However, you may be spotting unfamiliar words in articles and company handbooks.

Let’s go through several of the alternate terms and phrases used to describe this way of working.


This could be called the original word for the whole idea. Telecommuting can be found much earlier than you might expect, in a book called The Telecommunications Transportation Tradeoff, by Jack Nilles. This was published in 1974!

Obviously, personal computers were not available then (the first personal computer was put on the market in 1975) so at this point, ‘telecommuting’ focused on the interesting idea that employers should built small ‘satellite’ offices nearer to their employees’ homes, so that their commute would be lessened.

A similar term which is still used quite interchangeably today is ‘telework’.

Mobile working

Mobile working is one of the rarer terms, these days, and is generally only used in tandem with a more well-known term like remote working or telecommuting. Mobile in this context implies an ease of moving around, and this phrase came into common usage as mobile phones and laptops became more widely used.


In the UK, this is a term still found in government documents. Homeworking has been in use for many years, but these days, like mobile working, is generally only found alongside more common terms. Although there are a number of homeworking pages on the UK government website, a search for that term pulls up only 300-odd results, as opposed to over 120,000 for “remote working”.

As well as causing potential confusion between a grown adult doing their job, and their child completing after-school assignments, ‘homeworking’ may also have been overly associated with the stereotype of a stay-at-home mother getting a job in multi-level-marketing, such as Avon.

Working from home

This self-explanatory phrase is very popular as an alternate to remote working. Over in America, this is the most commonly used term, and they abbreviate it as ‘WFH’ in their articles.

This flexible working strategy can decrease stress, improve productivity and increase morale

Tensor has developed several tools that which streamline remote working and help to create trustworthy time and attendance management policies:

This browser-based app allows employees to clock themselves in and out and to book on and off individual production jobs. Employees working a formal flexitime system can also view their current flexi-balance in real time and request adjustments to it.

This is the mobile version of the Self-Service Module, available on Android and iOS. It enables employers to verify the location of their workforce’s clockings via GPS. Employee movements can then be displayed & plotted on a map to be viewed in the central software.

With so many people working from home, network connectivity may start to become patchier than expected. The SSM app adapts to a sudden loss of connectivity by caching (temporarily storing) offline requests on the mobile device. Once a network connection is restored, any cached information is transferred immediately.

For more information on our market-leading time and attendance software, please get in touch.

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