“Telecommuting,” “working from home,” or “remote work” is commonly offered among employers. Telecommuting is an important value proposition in recruiting and retaining staff. Telecommuting allows employees to work from home either on occasion or as part of an agreed-upon schedule. The option to work remotely maximizes limited office space, and improves productivity, among other things. Telecommuting provides a range of possible benefits to both employees and employers.
Before jumping on the bandwagon and offering the option to work from home to employees, however, Human Resources have a lot to consider. Hidden costs, information security, the safety of the home office, and other variables all need to be evaluated. These factors will decide whether telecommuting makes sense for the organization. And, if the decision is to allow employees the option of working from home, HR staff should set in place specific policies before proceeding.
The Pros of Telecommuting
- Environmental benefits: Employees who work from home don’t commute. As a result, they spend less time in vehicles or on public transit. Less time spent commuting emits fewer greenhouse gasses and reduces stress to roads and infrastructure.
- Increased productivity: Less time spent in transit minimizes time risks. Traffic jams, delays, and inclement weather are all avoided. Remote employees spend what would be wasted time, doing actual work. Employees who work from home also save the time that is typically wasted on office distractions and interruptions.
- Reduced expenses: Fewer employees on-site means less space needed. Employers save on space-related expenses, such as rent, utilities, and office equipment.
- Improved employee attendance: Telecommuting leads to fewer unscheduled absences. This includes less use of vacation time.
Making Telecommuting Work
- Security concerns: Companies must take extra security steps. Information security safeguards should be in place wherever employees are working. This includes within the company and at the employee’s home. Another security concern relates to the risk associated with potential compensation claims or other insurance liability. The company must know which devices staff are using when they work from home.
- Policies in place: Policies need to be in place before staff begins working at home. These policies should clearly define responsibilities and roles. Additionally, they should define expectations related to communication and accessibility. Policies should include the use of email, social media, devices (both personal and company-owned) and confidentiality.
Decided to take the leap into utilizing a remote workforce? Learn best practices that will increase productivity and employee engagement, regardless of where your staff is located.