The modern workplace has been changing fast, with more reliance on technology and less on physical space. When employees can connect to the office via their smartphone or tablet, it seems less important that they sit in their cubicles all day. Perhaps that is why so many companies have been emptying out those cubicles and sending their workers home to work.
The explosion in telecommuting has obvious benefits for employees, from reduced costs for work clothes to lower transportation costs. But telecommuting has some real advantages for employers as well, including the following:
- Additional Time Available for Work
When your employees are busy commuting to the office, they are losing valuable time that could be spent working. The typical employee spends an hour or more just getting to and from the office, while the telecommuter arrives at work in a matter of minutes.
As a result, many telecommuting employees find themselves spending more time on the job. Without the long and draining commute, they have the energy they need to greet the day and be more productive right from the start.
- Enhanced Productivity
Many managers worry that sending their best employees home will lead to lower productivity, but the opposite often happens. There are constant distractions in the physical office setting, from mindless chatter with coworkers to complaints about the employer. With these distractions gone, telecommuting employees may be more, not less, productive.
The availability of monitoring technology makes it easier than ever for employers to keep track of telecommuters and make sure they are meeting their productivity goals. From monitoring software installed on office computers to Skype and GoToMeeting, there are plenty of ways for bosses to keep track of their home workers and for those employees to enhance their productivity.
- More Flexibility
Flexibility is an important consideration for modern employees. Workers appreciate the ability to change their schedules as needed, and that flexibility makes it easier to deal with sick kids, urgent or routine errands, elderly parents and other daily stresses. It can be hard to accommodate different schedules in the traditional office setting, but it is much easier in the telecommuting workplace.
The availability of telecommuting technology makes it easier than ever for managers and workers to adjust schedules and build deadlines that make sense. Managers do not necessarily care about when the employee is on the clock as long as the work gets done.
- Lower Fixed Costs
Every worker who goes home frees up one more cubicle for a new hire. That makes expansion less costly and allows companies to be more flexible. Having a strong contingent of telecommuting workers can even allow companies to reduce the amount of space they need, and that can further reduce fixed costs.
Instead of renting a huge office space and installing costly cubicles, the company can simply pay for an Internet connection and a second phone line. That reduction in fixed costs can add up, especially for a large employer.
- Better Retention
As an employer, you have a vested interest in keeping your best employees on the job. Hiring and retraining a new worker is obviously more expensive and inefficient than retaining an existing one. Keeping personnel costs down is an important goal for most companies.
A traditional employee might need to quit due to childcare concerns or the needs of an elderly parent. The telecommuting option provides greater flexibility over schedules and duties, and that can make it easier for long-term employees to stay on the job. Many companies use telecommuting as a retention tool, and many others are looking into how offering employees the chance to work from home can help them keep their best people.
About the author: Suren Rodrigues is an avid technologist with a rigorous scientific background, and two decades of proven experience as a leader, delivering enterprise-scale software, and carrier-grade telecom. systems. He has a Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. Dr. Rodrigues lives in Colorado where he can indulge his other passion: the outdoors.