Many workers love the idea of telecommuting, so much so that it’s often used to sweeten recruitment and retention incentives. According to Global Workforce Analytics, nearly a third of employees would choose telecommuting over a pay raise, and 95% of surveyed employers say it helps with employee retention. Add to that the fact that half of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telecommutes and approximately 20-25% of the workforce telecommutes. With these being just some of the benefits, plus the added potential of reduced overhead costs, why aren’t more employers implementing telework?
The simple answer is that telecommuting, sometimes called telework, can be a hard sell for many companies because it appears to challenge many management traditions. Will the employee focus on getting the work done? Will telecommuters still be able to be team players?
Below are a few tips that can help you make the right decisions to ensuring telecommuting is successfully integrated and implemented within your team or organization:
- Try out telecommuting for yourself when you have the opportunity. It will help increase your personal effectiveness and improve your understanding of the pros and cons of teleworking.
- Determine who can telecommute and how much. Work that requires thinking and writing, such as data analysis, reviewing grants or cases, and writing regulations can be done from home. So can computer-oriented tasks, such as programming, data entry, and word processing. Global Workplace Analytics finds that two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
- Trust your telecommuters at all times and demonstrate this trust by assigning challenging projects once the employee delivers a strong performance. Consider your telecommuter employee’s point of view in all situations. Understand the timeframes involved in completing tasks and the resources required to complete them.
- Keep them in the loop. Include telecommuters in surveys and evaluations and when setting work goals and objectives. Include telecommuters in day-to-day activities. Communicate on a regular basis with all technology methods, including phone, e-mail, instant messaging, online chat software, and online meetings.
- Keep things balanced and challenging. Delegate assignments fairly among telecommuters and on-site employees Be aware of your telecommuters’ attitudes and involvement to ensure they don’t feel isolated from the main office. Be flexible and open to increasing the frequency of telecommuting if it is working well for the employee