Telecommuting is becoming more common all the time, probably because improvements in technology have made telecommuting a more realistic option for businesses in a variety of industries. From a management standpoint, the decision to allow workers to telecommute can be difficult. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting can help you decide if this type of work is right for your business.
Flexible Office Space
Office space can be a challenge to obtain, especially for a growing business. Finding the right spot at an affordable price can be difficult in big cities where space is valued at a premium price. In small cities, finding a space that is right for your business’s needs can also be difficult because fewer choices may be available. The more employees added to the payroll every year, the more challenging it may be to find space for those employees to work. Telecommuting eases the pressures for a business that is having trouble finding a place that is large enough to meet its growing needs.
Attract More Employees
Telecommuting can be attractive to a variety of employees who need flexibility at the workplace. For example, working parents can benefit from a job that enables them to spend more time at home and less time commuting to the office. The same is true of employees who live far from the office. Telecommuting jobs attract employees who place a premium on flexibility in the office by making their own office in the comfort of their own home.
Reduced Costs In the Office
Workstations are costly. Allowing employees to work from home can save a company money on permanent work stations for new staff members.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Huge renovation projects aren’t the only way to go green. Commuters drive cars and put strain on the environment. Telecommuting positions are one way that businesses reduce their environmental impact and shrink their carbon footprint. By putting fewer commuters on the road, businesses become more sustainable and make a smaller overall impact on the environment. This is good for the community, and is one way to attract customers who wish to support environmentally friendly businesses.
Accountability and Control
A business must trust an employee a great deal to allow him or her to work from home. There are a variety of ways that businesses can keep employees accountable and ensure that their employees are working at least as hard from home as they would work in the office.
- Set goals and milestones for employees to meet.
- Hold daily video chats to catch up on progress.
- Schedule regular in-person meetings to keep lines of communication open.
- Share task-management software that tracks employee progress.
Potential Lack of Support for Team Members
Telecommuting can be lonely at times, and employees who work exclusively from home can start to feel a little isolated. One of the best ways to ensure that team members feel like they’re a part of a group is to bring them together on a regular basis for meetings, trainings and collaborative sessions. Businesses can also require employees to work in the office part time to help build a sense of community and help employees develop healthy professional relationships.
At Home Technical Support Challenges
It can be difficult to provide technical support to a person who works from home. Companies can bypass this problem by installing software that allows them to connect to their telecommuting staff remotely. When this doesn’t work, work at home staff must bring in their laptops and other equipment to get the IT service they need.
Telecommuting isn’t right for everyone and doesn’t work for all businesses, however, businesses that do offer telecommuting options can save money, attract better employees and operate more efficiently. It’s important to weigh these pros and cons first before making the change.