If there are any facets of your business that are suitable for telecommuting, giving employees a work-from-home option may be a really beneficial addition. Some employers may look at a telecommuting option as a luxury, but in fact, it can be both financially beneficial and a boon to productivity, and well worth taking a serious look at the percentage of employees who could be moved to a telecommuting model.
Many economists and researchers maintain that businesses that do not take advantage of new technologies and their ability to develop a “virtual workforce” are missing out on a financial windfall.
There are many ways employees can work from home, at least part of the time, with computer programs that allow them to connect directly to office servers. This gives them the same access to projects they would have in the office environment without the expense of setting up another work station. Fewer physical offices result in lowered overhead in a number of ways, the most obvious being the cost of a smaller office building. There is a decided energy savings in having fewer on-site employees, as well as the financial benefit from a reduced need for expensive office equipment and supplies.
What is often overlooked, however, is the benefit to the company in increased productivity and employee satisfaction. Studies have repeatedly shown that happier and less stressed employees are more productive. At the very least, working at home allows employees to have less stress resulting from the necessary compromises between family and work, even apart from the worries and expenses resulting from finding safe and appropriate daycare. Time saved on a commute to the office can be spent more productively meeting family needs, and the flexibility to work after the kids have been put to bed or sent off to school improves employee commitment and decreases absenteeism and tardiness. It enables employees to use the office servers at times of less demand, reducing strain on servers during peak times so that work can be accomplished more quickly and efficiently. Further, it eliminates wasted time spent getting ready for work, dealing with traffic, shoveling out the car in wintry weather and the distracting chatter that takes place in most offices.
It is always to a company’s advantage to recruit and hire the most talented employees, and these might not be within traditional commuting distance of the physical office. Telecommuting can also significantly reduce the number of employees who are job-hopping because of a desire or need to move and it can enable a company to retain highly skilled employees who may, for whatever reason, find it necessary to move to a location that would make a regular commute impossible or prohibitively costly. Training good employees costs a lot of money, and it is to everyone’s advantage if they can be retained. In spite of the belief held by some companies that it saves money to find ways of getting rid of long-time employees who are at a higher level of earnings and replace them with new-hires who can be paid less, that seriously underestimates the costs of training new employees, dealing with errors while they are being brought up to speed, damaged employee morale when it becomes apparent that they are not valued by the company in which they invest so much of their lives, and the distinct possibility that there will not be a replacement with an equally high level of skill and dedication.
There are certainly some things necessary to making telecommuting successful, particularly, taking the responsibility for making sure that telecommuting employees have a crystal clear understanding of what is expected of them, because they will be in a practically manager-free environment. This means that having an outcomes-based model will work most effectively. And, of course, jobs that require a hands-on office presence will not be suitable for a telecommuting employee, however, communications tools like cell phones, instant messaging and video conferencing will make many more positions available to be moved out of the traditional office setting, creating a financial and social benefit for greater numbers of employees and companies.
Finally, from a community perspective, employees who work at home reduce traffic congestion, save roadway wear and tear, reduce pollution by reducing the number of cars on the road, and decrease the use of fossil fuels. Overall, it is a winning strategy for everyone concerned.
Guest Post Author Bio
Katelyn is a copywriter for Julianna Rae, makers of luxury women’s robes.