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What's the difference between "telecommuting" and "telework"?

This has been the subject of numerous debates, articles, and academic papers - and in my opinion, the difference is minimal. The term "telework" tends to be used more in Europe and some other countries, while "telecommuting" is used more in the U.S. Some people prefer the word "telework" because it's a more accurate description of the concept - the "tele" prefix means "distance", so "telework" means "work at a distance." The telework advocates also believe that "telecommuting" has too strong a connotation about the commuting aspect, and that "telework" is a broader and more inclusive terms.

To be honest, I've tried to steer clear of this debate - and you can see that I took the middle-of-the-road position when I named this Web site using both terms. Whatever you choose to call it, the underlying concept is the same: decentralizing the office, and using different ways of bringing the work to the workers. It doesn't make much difference (to me, at least) what you call it - as long as you do it.

(You can find some interesting definitions of these and other terms on the JALA Inc. site.)

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