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Out of Sync

Nomi Schwartz

Telecommuting allows you to work in different time zones without ever leaving your house. But how does this work for a mother, whose children are in her time zone while her clients are not?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

“Good morning,” you chirp down the line, while blowing your children a goodnight kiss. Your watch says one time and the clock on the wall, another. What happens when you live in one time zone and work in another?

Out of sync it may be, but thousands of women, mainly based in Israel, live and work in separate time zones. The advantages are significant: Many find that even after taking a cut in their former American salary, they still come out ahead when compare to a standard Israeli salary. If they began their job in the States and transferred to Israel, telecommuting can offer strong psychological advantages: the continuity of employment being a stabilizing factor at a time of flux. And, of course, working for the US offers a highly-prized level of flexibility. A mother can spend her mornings home with her children, studying, attending ulpan, or getting to the innumerable tasks working woman find so hard to squeeze into their schedule.

Employers, too, are growing increasingly amenable to having employees across the ocean: low overheads, decreased salary, and retaining trusted employees can be significant enough advantages to get the boss’s nod of approval.

The challenges, though, are not to be sneezed at. It takes self-discipline to sit and tap away at the computer when everyone around you has finished their work day. It’s isolating, too, when colleagues are nonexistent and your social connections are limited exclusively to email. In addition, a professional can miss the ping-pong of ideas that’s an integral part of business and professional life.

But despite this, thousands make it work: accountants, lawyers, sales professionals, and even psychologists work almost exclusively over the phone or online—and do so successfully. How does the schism between work time and home time affect their families and their lives? Family First listens to four couples discuss the specific challenges of living out of sync.


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