When you think of telecommuting, what do you imagine? For some employers, there is a real fear that their employees will be sitting at home relaxing a little bit too much and not getting the work done. But in actual fact, telecommuting can increase productivity and raise employee morale, which is good news for telecommuting employees and the businesses who welcome remote working.
Yet according to the University of South Australia, only about 16% of employees currently work from home regularly. Could your company be missing out on a way of working that will benefit you and your employees? How can you decide if telecommuting is for you, and how can you implement with as little stress as possible?
What Are Benefits of Telecommuting?
Some major Australian companies have already taken steps into telecommuting and found it beneficial for their business. Cisco Australia is a strong supporter of telecommuting, with 90% of its global workforce teleworking at least one day a week. The result? Employees who are happier and more productive.
As well as cutting out the stress of the daily commute, telecommuting sends your employees the message that you trust them to do their jobs well and that you’re a flexible employer who cares about them. A strong telecommuting policy can also cut your expenses as you need less office space, heat and light to run your business.
When is Telecommuting the Right Call?
Telecommuting isn’t right for every business. Some jobs naturally need a person on site. It’s hard to imagine a successful telecommuting surgeon or chef for example. But for jobs in many industries, telecommuting is a good fit. To figure out if telecommuting is right for your business, ask yourself:
Which jobs could my employees do from home as effectively without being in the office?
If there are jobs in your company that could just as easily be done from home, then you’re in a position to consider telecommuting. The other thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about the telecommuting trend and how your company can handle it is infrastructure.
Online services such as Google Docs and Dropbox can be used to help with file sharing, while Skype and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communications can be used alongside email to help your telecommuting employees keep in touch.
How Can You Make Telecommuting Work for You?
The key to making telecommuting work for your business is developing a strong telecommuting policy with good ground rules.
That way, your employees will know what is expected of them and what is allowed, and you’ll all have a way to touch base and check in that expectations are being met. When drawing up your plan, be sure to include:
- How often your employees can telecommute;
- Whether any particular days or times are not eligible;
- The hours your employees will be expected to be contactable by phone or email while telecommuting;
- What your employees are expected to achieve while out of the office;
- How often your employees are expected to check in with you;
- How often they are expected to come to the office, whether for regular check ins or events such as meetings.
With a strong policy in place, telecommuting can bring big benefits to your business, resulting in happier employees who get more done.
Make an effort to make telecommuting part of contributing to your team rather than a way to get out of the office and you’ll be off on the right foot.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business