Telecommuting, often referred to as “working from home,” is not for everyone or for every company. There are pros and cons for both the company and for the employee that must be considered in order to be successful.
Employees interested in telecommuting imagine a definite benefit to have the ability to literally "come to work" each day in their pajamas. However, many telecommuters fail to notice they can often work an average of 10-12 hours each day should they also work during their normal commute time. Management sees an opportunity for increased productivity when telecommuting is offered to the workforce, yet may sacrifice some creative thinking as a result of less collaboration among team members.
Before instituting a policy on telecommuting, careful thought is required. Although research has shown telecommuting provides for lower job-related stress, improved performance and greater job satisfaction, these positives do not happen for everyone.
Some workers who telecommute actually miss the face-to-face interaction with their co-workers and their management. Other trade-offs which can occur with telecommuting include increased productivity vs longer work days, greater independence vs less collaboration, and more flexibility with family and work vs blurred boundaries of the two.
As a company, some other factors to consider include:
Still, after some careful consideration and planning, a successful telecommuting implementation can be a powerful recruiting and retention tool. Telecommuting opportunities can also open the door for diverse and truly global workforce by taking advantage of available collaboration technology.
We would like to hear about your organizations' telecommuting challenges and successes. How do your telecommuters separate their home life from work life? Do they have established "office" hours? and a work environment conducive for a dedicated work-space? How do you keep the lines of communication open? Please comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.
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