Increasingly, companies are looking at telecommuting as a viable option for their businesses. The benefits of utilizing a work-at-home force are many, but the prospect isn’t for everyone. With careful analysis and some planning however, you can use telecommuting to your benefit.
When telecommuting fails, it’s largely due to a lack of planning and management. If having your employees work from home is something that you think can work well for your business, plan ahead. Make sure that everyone has the right equipment needed to properly do their job, set up regular evaluations with your employees to stay on top of productivity, use tracking software when necessary, and hold employees accountable for getting their tasks done, on time.
Telecommuting doesn’t mean all or nothing. When you’re thinking of making the switch, consider part-time telecommuting as a test run. Employees can work from home part of the time, yet still come into the office for big projects or meetings. This will allow you to test the waters without committing to a full telecommuting arrangement. If a full on telecommuting arrangement won’t work for your company, maybe doing it on a part time basis will.
Information safety is at the forefront of the media today, with news stories popping up often detailing yet another company who has suffered an information breach. While you may assume that employees working out of the office would be a large liability, the opposite is actually true: all of the big recent leaks have been attributed to outdated safety procedures or software, and none were caused by telecommuting. As you transition to telecommuting, make sure you have the necessary safety procedures in place for employees accessing the network remotely.
Opening up your workforce through telecommuting and not limiting yourself to your own town gives you the chance to broaden your candidate pool to include the whole country, or even the whole world. Especially useful if you live somewhere with a smaller population, you’ll have applicants who may be the perfect fit but would never be able to move to make it into the office. Telecommuting allows you to hire these cream-of-the-crop candidates to work for your business.
For the right candidate, telecommuting actually increases job productivity by a large margin. Employees who work from home or in a telecommuting capacity report fewer sick days, are more likely to stay with your company (lowering turnover rates) and have a higher level of job satisfaction.
Telecommuting brings down your company’s overhead by an average of $11,000 a year. Think of all the supplies it takes to run a successful office environment; things like coffee and food expenses, janitorial teams, and office equipment will no longer need to be provided by you for your employees, translating into hundreds or thousands of dollars saved each year.
Many people fear that communications will suffer if they take their teams remote, but with so many new software programs on the market, getting together for a meeting is as easy as turning on the computer. Programs like Skype and GoToMeeting allow face to face communication, and even have screen sharing capabilities so that you can easily pass along information and collaborate with employees off-site. Their chat programs will allow you to stay in constant contact, and there are also a number of project management programs, like Basecamp, Teamwork and Podio that can help you track productivity and employees across multiple projects.
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