Telecommuters are less likely to get promoted than peers who head into the office every day, according to a global survey of 1,300 executives by Los Angeles-based executive search firm Korn/Ferry International, released January 2007.

Almost everywhere part-time employees have the same statutory employment rights as other employees, but despite similar benefits are the promotions coming their way? Not for many and for those who are in the manager’s good books the struggle for a promotion is much more as compared to a full-time employee, even though the part-time worker may be more productive.
Many telecommuters and flexible work hours workers report increased productivity and reduced stressed but on the downside there have been various evidences of telecommuters being discriminated for promotions. They are low on the radar screen for the management but being a diligent telecommuter may help you overcome this hurdle.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
In tough times, many employers revert to thinking critical jobs can only be done full-time, flat-out and under the boss’s nose. Hilary Achauer, a San Diego marketing specialist for a nonprofit concern, sought to return to work part-time from maternity leave last year, but was offered a full-time management job instead. When she passed it up, she was diverted to a marginal job, then axed in February, while the employee who took the full-time slot was spared. “When the going gets tough,” she says, some employers say, “‘That person is only part-time, let’s get rid of them.'”

On the other hand, employers who are equipped to measure output against costs may see an efficient part-timer or telecommuter as an asset. A part-timer hired last fall by a retailing client of Flexperience, a Burlingame, Calif., consulting firm, thought she’d be the first to be laid off, says Sally Thornton, president of Flexperience. But she was so productive at reduced pay, Ms. Thornton says, that her employer chose to keep her over more senior full-timers. Work-at-home employees also confer savings, on real estate and office costs.

Indeed, in the current recession, more employers are using flexible setups to save money. Based on an April survey by Towers Perrin of 700 employers, 21% to 32% are either implementing or considering part-time shifts or four-day workweeks, as a cost-cutting tool. Of course, employees usually don’t have a choice under these circumstances and may not welcome the change.
In general, the number of employees working flexibly at their own request usually stalls or declines in a recession, not only because employers cut back but because employees fear straying from the norm. The number of corporate telecommuters edged lower in the 2001 recession, then recovered, only to decline to 8.7 million in 2009 from 9.2 million in 2006, says Ray Boggs of IDC, a Framingham, Mass., research concern.

Some tips for telecommuters and part-time workers:

When you opt to work part-time and also get a job that matches your priorities and requirement, keep in mind that even though you are working part-time don’t let it get in your way from accepting challenging responsibilities.
Often times those working part-time have complaints against management that they are discriminated when the question of promotions and profit-sharing come up. It is not often on how many hours you work but on the quality and efficiency of your work that the promotions should be based on and most often are. You must develop the drive or have a knack for working smarter and efficiently in those hours that you have. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, what a full time worker can do in 8 hours you can very well do in 6 hours. It does not mean that you take up more responsibilities that you can possibly perform in the 4-6 hours work day, but don’t shy away from challenging projects just because you are working part-time.

Working Remotely or .. Remotely Working?
An article in BusinessWeek observes the implications of telecommuters on performance and productivity. It says:
Hewlett-Packard offers a personality test so workers can determine whether they are suited to solo toiling in pajamas. Among other things, the test assesses whether workers can handle limited supervision. But even those who can require some face time.
Researchers at IBM learned that if teams went more than three days without gathering, their happiness and productivity suffered. Now managers are required to bring teams together at least once every three days—physically or virtually—for reasons that have nothing to do with completing an assignment.
Managing remote workers is like enabling an ecosystem. Executives at IBM and HP are schooled in setting up ways to gauge the productivity of people they rarely see. The most important ingredient in making these arrangements work: trust.