Why Telecommuting Should be Part of Your Work Culture

Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Business Technology [ 0 Comments ]

telework-can-help-boost-employee-engagement_1334_531309_0_14000652_500-300x199Small-business owners face an assortment of challenges, including making sure their employees are productive and satisfied. But the workplace is changing in ways that make it more difficult to keep track of employees.

Benefits of a Mobile Workforce
According to a recent study conducted by the global human resources association WorldatWork, telework is offered by 88 percent of enterprises. This study stands in stark contrast to the route some of the big name companies have taken – see Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy – in reining in their mobile workers. In reality, only 3 percent of companies have eliminated telecommuting programs during the past 2 years, said Rose Stanley, WorldatWork practice leader for benefits, work-life, flexibility and recognition.

Related: 3 Ways to Save Money with Virtual Employees

Of the 566 member organizations surveyed in the study, 80 percent offer telework, flex​ time and other options to allow employees a greater degree of autonomy over their work-life balance. And this can have a positive influence on your workforce. The majority – 64 percent – of companies believe a flexibility program would have a strong, positive impact on employee engagement. Nearly an equal number cited a positive effect on motivation and 73 percent believed their employees to be more satisfied in their roles.

In addition to the apparent benefits to your workforce, there are financial reasons for creating a business culture that embraces telework. Recently, the U.S. General Services Administration reduced the amount of space needed to accommodate its workforce by moving its 4,000 workers from three distinct buildings into one, according to BusinessManagementDaily. The organization is accomplishing this feat by coordinating telecommuters’ schedules and establishing a desk sharing policy. When employees work from home or another off-site location, their colleagues can make use of any office equipment they need. If an organization with thousands of workers can take advantage of this system, then small and medium-sized businesses should have few obstacles in setting up a similar plan.

Related: Remote HR: How to Manage Employees Across the Country

Pitfalls to Avoid
Making a more flexible office environment work also requires establishing a fair use rule. You should make sure the productivity benefits or telework are actually realized by keeping a close eye on bandwidth consumption. According to NetMotion Wireless, employers who use a VPN tunnel to connect to internal networks should monitor the content employees are downloading, watching or listening to. If your workers are trying to revisit the first season of Breaking Bad, the bandwidth they’re using will likely be far greater than someone looking at Google Docs. So, it’s a good idea to block usage of movie or music sites when your employees are connected to your internal networks because it’s generally unfair to everyone else. They slow down the Internet connection and they’re not performing their jobs. On all accounts productivity is stalled. Other workers on the network will have to wait because of the delay and your business will not be operating up to its capabilities.

Related: Top 5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Especially for businesses that have employees that routinely work off-site, it’s important to make sure your workers are productive while taking advantage of the flexibility. The teleworking trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down, meaning companies should start planning for it now if they haven’t already begun.

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