Thanks to the rise in technology, employees can work from virtually anywhere. A staple in today’s workplace is the option to telecommute (e.g. work from home, a coffee shop, or anywhere outside of the office). Nearly 40% of employees telecommute at least a few times per month. To be clear, telecommuting doesn’t mean employees work from home all the time (this is an option, but most telecommuters split their time between office and home). Before deciding if you should provide this to your team, read on to discover if it is the right fit for your company culture.
- Talent retention. Telecommuting provides great flexibility to employees. As such, it is a huge selling point for top talent. It also promotes a work-life balance, which increases employee satisfaction and office morale.
- Higher potential for better hires. If you opt for telecommuting, you are no longer limited to a specific geographic location to look for talent. You can recruit from any location you please. That means greater access to more candidates and their skill sets.
- Save your business some money. For employees that telecommute (even part of the time), they may not certain office supplies. This means less equipment to purchase. If you hire in another geographic location, relocation is a thing of the past.
- Increased productivity. Employees that telecommute a few days a week are over 35% more productive than those that go into the office every day. Not only that, employees who have the option to telecommute are more dedicated to their jobs – taking less time off and reducing overall absenteeism.
- Communication risks. For obvious reasons, managers have a more difficult time “managing” employees that are not in the office. You need the right kind of manager to oversee telecommuters – one that is patient and a great communicator.
- Potential for poor hiring. If your team works from home, they have to be pretty self-motivated to get their jobs done. This kind of skill set is difficult to gauge during the recruiting and hiring process. Hire the wrong person and productivity will decrease costing you more (in terms of training and on-boarding costs).
- Collaboration difficulties. Telecommuters work from different places, so it’s not always easy to work together. Rather than walking over to a coworker’s desk, your team may have to wait for a returned phone call or email. However an instant messaging system like Slack can work to resolve this issue.
Like most things, telecommuting is great in moderation. Companies that have the highest productivity and top performers combine work from home days with days in the office. Ultimately, it will be up to you to determine if telecommuting options fit with your company culture and your current resources.