Telecommuting: Good or Bad for Businesses?
Telecommuting (also known as working remotely) is where some or all of your staff have the flexibility to work in the location of their choosing (and in some cases, the hours that they choose). Not to be confused with freelancing, telecommuters are dedicated employees who work under a management style geared towards the final results (as opposed to how the work gets done). While telecommuting isn't for everybody, it is often practiced. Microsoft is well known for having certain positions where the employee spends most of their day in a coffee shop working remotely, and that trend certainly doesn't stop with the big M.
A 2008 report pointed out that, at the time, 2.5 million U.S. employees considered their home their primary place of business. This report took in consideration workers who were self-employed, but also estimated that fifty million workers could probably work from home at least part time.
Over the last few years, those numbers have been rising, and more and more users are working remotely, but is it always good for businesses?
It is believed that people who work remotely are less likely to get promoted, since these people are seen less, so it is more difficult to determine if they should be in a leadership role. One of the biggest issues of remote work is that managers would prefer to have staff in house not because they don't trust their workers, but just because they would like to see them working, just to be on the safe side. Security and data theft are also concerns.
Fortunately, proper technology measures can be put in place to help alleviate the fears of telecommunication. Terminal servers can allow staff to log into an environment that is controlled by the business with the same rules and permissions as the rest of your network. There are tools that allow you to track employee access and monitor time and other metrics so you know your employee is working and not wasting time. There are plenty of work productivity apps now that offer collaboration capabilities, and businesses are adopting the use of instant messaging, teleconferencing, voip, mobile smartphones, and other services that make communication seamless whether you are in the office, at home, or at a beachside hotel while on that business trip.
The world is getting more connected, and the benefits are in the flexibility. According to a survey done by CompTIA, over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among telecommuters. Working remotely can greatly reduce commuting costs (which has its own slew of environmental benefits alone), employee turnover, and office expense.
If you want to learn more about telecommuting and want to learn how it can benefit your business, give us a call at 607.433.2200.