With the advent of easily accessible personal computers and reliable and swift Internet, more organizations are turning to telecommuting to fill their daily needs. But if your organization is hesitant to allow employees to telecommute, either full or part-time, the below article addresses some tips to consider to make telecommuting and team building a viable option for both employee and organization.
As more businesses allow telecommuting, more articles are written on the subject. This article references several well-written and informative articles: The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company, Planning to Let Employees Work From Home? 5 Things to Consider First, How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance, More Evidence It’s a Mistake to Make Employees Work in the Office, and Four Ways to Make Telecommuting Work as a B2B Employer.
Telecommuting might not be right for every organization, but with careful planning, consideration for employee connectivity needs so that team building is served, telecommuting might be an effective and profitable solution for your organization.
Consider the type of work you do before deciding on telecommuting. According to the article The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company, recently published on Inc.com, the type of work you offer can affect the effectiveness of telecommuting. While telecommuting is becoming more and more common in today’s working environment, depending on your clientele, it can still be considered ineffective. Clients may expect employees to be physically available during the typical working hours of nine to five, but with telecommuting, that may not be the case. So if you’re in an environment where telecommuting may negatively affect your image, you may want to veto the idea for now.
Consider allowing part-time versus full-time telecommuting. If you’ve decided that your organization can handle telecommuting, or if you’re still hesitant, consider letting employees work from home part-time and spending the rest of their time in-office. According to the article Planning to Let Employees Work From Home? 5 Things to Consider First, if you’re worried that office collaboration and employee connectivity will dwindle with employees working from home, consider letting employees work from home for just one or two days a week. That way you’re allowing flexibility with your employees but still having valuable face time. It is known that employees who have at least one best friend at work are 60% more productive.
Set ground rules for your employees. As with any new endeavor in an organization, telecommuting may seem overwhelming for both employees and employers. Employers might be concerned that employees will be less effective when they telecommute, and employees may share those fears. According to the article How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance, it’s important for organizations to set expectations on their telecommuting employees and to ensure everyone understands the ground rules to working from home. While employees may work in their pajamas on their couch, they need to still feel part of the office environment and attend meetings virtually. Once employees know what is expected of them when they work from home, they will be more effective and able to meet the needs of their organization.
Allow flexible schedules. A recent study by Stanford researchers found that “participants who worked from home also put in more hours and took fewer sick days,” according to the article More Evidence It’s a Mistake to Make Employees Work in the Office. Concerns that those who worked from home would not be as productive were unfounded as the study found that “those working from home made 13.5 percent more calls, quit 50 percent less, and said they were much happier on the job.” Because the employees had some freedom to work either earlier or later in the day, while still attending virtual meetings, employees were able to get more done during their most productive times of day. Not everyone is a morning person, while others thrive during the early hours. By allowing employees to work on their own timeframe, employees were overall more productive.
Be involved with your telecommuting employees. It is important for employees who are telecommuting to still feel part of the team. Once your organization allows employees to telecommute, you need to stay involved with their day-to-day activities, according to Four Ways to Make Telecommuting Work as a B2B Employer. Collaboration among all employees, those who telecommute and those who don’t, is extremely important for the success of an organization. So make sure those who are working from home have the same opportunities and the same accountability with the organization.
If your organization is considering telecommuting, consider the above tips to make a smooth and effective transition among your employees. Making any type of change within an organization can be challenging, so make sure you understand all of the benefits and possible negatives when implementing the change.
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
Dianne is the founder of TIGERS Success Series, Inc., speaker, workshop presenter and author of TIGERS Among Us – Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive. Dianne licenses and certifies HR and Project Management Professionals in the use of TIGERS Proprietary resources which build high levels of collaboration in the workplace.