These days it seems like the option of telecommuting is becoming more mainstream. It’s no longer simply a choice for High Tech Companies, other companies are using this option as well. There is a great post in the Boston Herald this month about Telecommuting:
“by Judith Bowman
Telecommuting is a much sought-after work arrangement that lets employees avoid the daily office commute and 9-to-5 routine. Working remotely via phone, Skype or in the Cloud is trending — with literally no office, whether from home, locally, nationally and even globally. In 2010, roughly 2.9 million employees — about 2 percent of the U.S. workforce — telecommuted. This year, Forrester Research has projected, as many as 63 million workers might telecommute at some point.
High technology has facilitated this approach, which not only helps the environment but promotes work-life balance and a higher-quality lifestyle while enhancing employee retention, productivity, morale and even company loyalty. Interestingly, 80 percent of employees consider telecommuting a job perk.
It saves them from incurring more stress and transportation costs, and saves the time they would spend driving to and from work — as well as cutting into the cost of coffee, snacks and meals. Employers save on costs of overhead — office and parking space as well as office-related utility costs.
According to Global Analytics Network, businesses incur $600 billion in annual losses due to workplace distractions. Being removed from the office minimizes office politics, coworker interruptions, daily distractions and drama while encouraging productivity.
Telecommuters tend to keep working when they’re sick … and heal more quickly, without infecting others. They have a greater ability to self-manage and concentrate. They have the flexibility and freedom to run errands or schedule appointments without losing a work day.
Providing this option gives companies greater access to a global talent pool while permitting them to recruit and retain high-quality employees. This option also diminishes the need to micromanage and encourages accountability.
But there are downsides: It’s harder for employers to monitor performance, and for employees to get recognition for their performance.
As we move toward more telecommuting, employers’ management techniques will need to evolve, as productivity is no longer associated with physical presence. That includes tracking time worked, and morale issues that might arise for people whose jobs don’t allow them to telecommute. Because one can always connect, being overworked is a risk, either voluntarily or involuntarily. But telecommuting is here to stay. Although not everyone is disciplined and well-suited to working independently, working remotely can be a win-win situation for both company and employee with little downside, as long as the process is respected and not abused.”
I believe telecommuting can be a valuable tool, but it can be very isolating, so I like my people to have the option to telecommute, but also require them to come into the office and meet with their team mates on a regular basis. I feel like that is more of a win win situation. What do you think?
Judith Bowman, speaker and business protocol coach, is president and founder of Judith Bowman Enterprises and author of “Don’t Take the Last Donut and “How to Stand Apart @ work.” She may be reached at Judith@protocolconsultants.com.