The Difference Between Telework And Remote Work

Telework is a phrase coined by Jack Nilles, a physicist working for NASA, in 1973. He suggested Telework for his coworkers as a way to save valuable time by not commuting to work. In 1979 a New York Post article further pushed the idea of Telecommuting to the wider public and by 2009 over 100,000 government employees had a telecommute option.

The general term Teleworking is losing usage while the term “Remote work” is becoming more common (circa 2020). These terms have been used almost synonymously in many ways, but are in fact two distinct terms. NASA promoted teleworking as a way to avoid the commute to an office; i.e. there was an office nearby that people would be commuting to.

Remote work however does not have such a limitation. There can be an office nearby, in a different state or country, no office space, or even an online office space. Remote work is a broader term, which means working off-site or not in the area. There is no expectation that remote workers need to come to the office regardless of traffic conditions.

Telework: Working from home, a satellite office, or shared space rather than commuting to a nearby office.

Remote Work: Working from home, a satellite office, or shared space regardless if an office exists in close proximity to you.


Return to blog

January 14th, 2020