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The Duality of Telecommuting…

by on ‎05-24-2010 08:34 AM

Telecommuting is a continual debate. Are employees more or less productive at home? Does offering telecommuting really improve employee morale?

There is a surprising low number of people working from home.  According to the Census Bureau, “..only 2.5 million employees, 1.9% of the working population, worked at home most of the time.” These numbers do not include home-based businesses.

For such a hot topic; why aren’t people encouraged to telework more often. If you ask around, everyone has a different opinion. For every advantage, there is disadvantage. Here are some different views, feel free to share your own! Do you work from home or have employees who work from home? What challenges do you encounter? What benefits do you reap?

Pros

 

  • Less distractions, no one stops by and interrupts. People stay focused and increase their productivity (some extend their hours because they do not have to commute).
  • Save on expenses: office supplies, space, gas, and much more.
  • Reduces absentee rates; instead of taking a sick day for a cold, people can and will work at home.
  • Improves morale, employees have the sense of trust and empowerment. In organizations that continue to micromanage, this is huge complaint.
  • Increases the employee pool, you are not restricted to the local market.

 

 Cons

 

  • Do not know what people are really doing when they are not in the office. Management of employees who telework is difficult, it requires more time. It is often hard to build the team atmosphere necessary to get results.
  • People in general need social interaction; some will feel isolated and bored. Some will feel they are invisible.
  • Some will overwork, causing more burn out and lower employee job satisfaction.
  • Communication; let’s face it some people struggle with their ability to communicate. The nonverbal cues gained from face-to-face interactions are necessary.

Comments
by Bronze Super Contributor
on ‎05-24-2010 11:30 AM

I beleive it depends on the nature of the work being performed.  I've been very productive at home doing SalesLogix development.   In fact, some of my best development time has been on a laptop on my back deck when the weather was nice.   On the other hand, collaborating with more than one other person is much easier when you can simply walk through the office & round up the people you need.     I think the ideal situation would be 3 days at the office when I need to work with others, and the other 2 days at home working on solo tasks (depending on the mix of the current workload.)

 

Also, remote network speeds are much faster and remote access tools are much better and than in the 80s and 90s when telecommunting first became a topic.  I'd be surprised if telecomming really hasn't increased in recent years, and continues to until the right balance of remote and "face-time" is figured out.

by
on ‎09-02-2011 11:10 PM

Office space is expensive. For a small company, that overhead might be enough to send a company out of businesses. For many businesses, though, it is possible to forgo a physical location or keep a small location, even with employees. The time and expense in starting a telecommuting position can be minimal, if carefully organized, and the benefits far outweigh the effort in some companies. It might be worth a personal loan just to get it started with workers at home.

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