Should You Let Employees Telecommute? 5 Benefits
Clearly, there may be drawbacks, but the benefits of allowing employees to telecommute might outweigh them for you.
As recently as 20 years ago, telecommuting was a difficult proposition. Sure, employees could get their work done using personal computers, but there were a lot of floppy disks and snail-mailed papers and FedEx deliveries involved. It was costly, and it was slow.
The internet obviously changed all of that. Email, collaborative tools, screen-sharing websites, and mobile access are some of the solutions that make it possible for at least some of your staff to work at home.
While some jobs couldn’t possibly be done remotely, many can. Should you allow these alternate workplaces in your company? Here are five ways that telecommuting can be a positive experience for both you and your employees.
Higher productivity. This may not always be the case, of course. Some individuals just can’t motivate themselves when they’re on their own. But taken as a whole, some studies have shown that telecommuters actually get more work done than cubicle-dwellers. Why?
- No meetings. There may be phone conversations and Skype get-togethers, and certainly a lot of email, but telecommuters miss out on the constant shuffle to the conference room, the waiting for stragglers, and the unnecessary chatter.
- No nearby co-workers. While this may be a negative for some telecommuters, it does minimize interruptions.
- No 9-5. While telecommuters usually need to be available for at least part of the workday, they can often schedule their work hours at times when they’re most productive.
- No commuting. Depending on where your office is located and where employees live, this can be a major time- and stress-saver.
More choice. What do you do if your office is in a sparsely-populated region? Or, hard as you’ve tried, you just can’t find a qualified candidate in your geographical area? Allowing telecommuting opens up the entire globe’s inhabitants to you and your hiring needs.
Cost savings. If you are able to hire remote workers as independent contractors, you’re likely to save money on taxes, benefits, and technology. If not, you may want to devote an office to telecommuters who must occasionally visit the office in person. But overall, your needs for space will be minimized, considering the reduced overhead.
Improved morale. Telecommuters appreciate employers who have granted them this status. And a worker’s attitude toward management goes a long way toward job satisfaction. Further, people who work remotely tend to be able to maintain a better work/life balance due to their flexible schedules. Improved morale=lower turnover=more continuity of work projects.
Less down time. Instead of taking an entire sick day, telecommuters can often put in a reduced work day when they’re not feeling well. And they don’t have to take time off to care for an ailing family member, wait for an important delivery or a repairman, etc.
Telecommuting is not for everyone, both employers and employees. But if your company and staff seem like a good fit, there’s plenty to like about the arrangement.
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