Telecommuting: Will it Work For My Employees?

- Leadership - May 15, 2013

By: Heather Legg

Things have drastically changed in the work world from the days of the 9 to 5 office hours and routine commute. We have seen shifts to four day work weeks, flexible hours and telecommuting. Is this a good route to take? Are your employees better off at home rather than glued to the office?

We have outlined some of the benefits that working from home can afford your employees and your business.

Time Flexibility

A key component to working from home is the flexibility it provides to your employees. If childcare is an issue, they can get their kids off to school, or even get their kids home from school and not disrupt work output. Their commute is no longer an issue, so employees can use that time for other things and not take away from work, or in some cases even use that time for work. Employees also don’t need to take time off if they are waiting on a delivery or for work to be done in the house.

Working at home also provides employees the capability to catch up on work at odd hours. If they need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, instead of missing out on those work hours they can catch up in the evening.

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Financial Savings

If your employees are working from a home office, you are not paying for expensive office space, which not only includes the rent, mortgage, or a lease on the physical space, but also factor in the cost of furniture, internet, heating, air, etc. You still may need to cover their supplies and certain utilities but it is a good way to meet some financial savings.

Your employees will save money as well as benefit the environment because they will be saving on gas and emissions by avoiding a commute.

Geographic Flexibility

When your employees can telecommute from anywhere, you have a broader base of hiring. You can search out the best employees and no one has to make life a changing move to take the job. People can work from almost anywhere. In the case of internal meetings, if they need to be there, they can fly in for the meetings and head home when they are finished.

Employees will be happier if they don’t need to disrupt their lives, including the lives of their families. 

Downside?

With all the pros of working from home, don't forget there are some negatives.

  • Some employees don’t like the isolation of working in a home office and can be prone to cabin fever. To avoid 'cabin fever'  they can co-work at a communal workspace or a coffee shop.
  • Is there too much free time to hang out on Facebook or go to the gym? Are you paying your employees to grocery shop and cook dinner? The bottom line is if the work is getting done, does it really matter? Do you see results and productivity? If so, it shouldn’t matter what’s going on. Don’t forget, people can still hang out on Facebook and waste significant time in an office.

The big question in deciding if you should offer work from home is if  your employees will still be productive. Technology has made it possible for people to work from almost anywhere, and it can be a viable option for some companies.

If your employees can be happiermore productive while saving your company money – why not give a try?

About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers a variety of topics including workplace issues and small business payroll.

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