Telecommuting doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Even the term is becoming becoming archaic as the number of people working from home increases. Yet some companies are still gun shy about allowing employees to work outside of the office, fearing they’ll be harder to manage, or less productive and engaged.
But there are real advantages to allowing people to
telecommute work at home. If you’re trying to convince managment to give it a try, or expand the number of people working remotely, here are five arguments you can make:
People Tend to Work More at Home
Workers at home spend more time focusing on their jobs. They face fewer interruptions, face less commuting time, and have the flexibility to work when they feel the most energetic and the least distracted. The result: an increase in productivity.
It Saves Money and Overhead
If your company has 500 people and you allow 300 to telecommute, you suddenly need less office space, fewer utilities, fewer office machines (like copiers) and a less extensive computer network. It’s a good idea to have some number of open desks set up for employees when they need to be in the office for a meeting or two, but by and large you’ll make a significantly smaller investment in facilities.
It Increases Flexibility in Hiring
Especially in an economy as lousy as this one, a lot of talented people are out there looking for jobs. But they’re not all in your area, and they’re going to balk at the idea of relocating on their dime. And, let’s face it, you’re not going to pay for their move. If they can work at home, setting them up isn’t going to be any more expensive than it would be for someone who lives five miles away. And suddenly your candidate pool has expanded dramatically.
Technology Allows for Better Communication
I work from home and between e-mail, instant messenger, conference calls, and the good old-fashined telephone call, I rarely feel out of touch. I’m also in the process of setting up Skype, whose quality has significantly improved in the last few years. Video discussions don’t replace face-to-face meetings, of course, but they add more personal dimensions than a phone call can to one-on-one communication. The trick is to make sure your employees use all of these tools, and don’t rely on e-mail exclusively.
It Makes People Happier
Employees value quality of life. So having flexibility, a workplace that’s more conducive to personal work habits, and the ability to avoid spending hours a day commuting all add up to people who are happier with their work and their company. Such a dynamic boosts retention, and can make your company a more attractive place to work when candidates are trying to decide whether or not you should be their next employer.
The are all solid business-focused arguments to make. If your boss still hesitates, see if you can get her to try a pilot program. Keep a firm track of the results, and use them to drive home your arguments.