Employees tend to love being able to work remotely/telecommute. In fact, it’s a sought-after employee benefit for candidates and offering it as a perk of employment definitely can help attract top talent.
But it’s not always a win-win for a company – or even for the worker.
Take a look below for the pros and cons for of a telecommuting program for both a company and its workers.
Pros for the Employer
As mentioned above, offering flexible work schedules (including telecommuting) definitely can help a company become an employer of choice. In fact, many people say they would leave a current employer for another that offered a telecommuting perk.
Companies with a national/regional presence can save considerably on overhead, as they no longer will need to rent or lease office space, furniture and equipment for employees who work from a company’s headquarters.
Employees who telecommute do tend to be more engaged and productive.
Telecommuting Pros for Employees
Being able to work where employees want allows much more flexibility in their personal lives. For example, workers could work late at night and then take a parent or child to a planned doctor’s appointment the next morning without losing time “at work.”
Telecommuting can improve employee productivity because workplace interruptions are greatly reduced. There are fewer meetings to attend, no one stopping by a desk “just to chat,” and so on.
Employees can eat healthier (no access to the donuts in the break room) and exercise more (workers could go for a run/walk or to the gym instead of commuting to work). They could volunteer at a child’s lunch party at school.
All of the above adds up to telecommuting’s biggest perk of all: having more control over one’s day-to-day schedule.
The Problems with Telecommuting for Employers.
As terrific as telecommuting workers can be for companies, there are some problems inherent within it:
Employees can take advantage of their telecommuting situation.
Workplaces can lose the collaboration and camaraderie that often occurs when everyone is in close proximity to each other. There will be no brainstorming meetings together and ideas simply don’t seem to flow as easily when people “meet” via video chat.
Cybercriminals can take advantage of employee connections from home computers. Unless employers provide completely secure Internet access, companies may be putting private and/or proprietary information at risk of theft.
Why Telecommuting May Not Be as Great as Employees Think
Telecommuters do report feelings of isolation. This may not be a problem for those with families, but it can be a real problem for many people. Many of those who telecommute say they miss the camaraderie of being around colleagues they enjoy.
When it comes to promotions, etc.: out of sight out of mind. It’s true. In fact, one study found that half of those who worked from home asked to return to the office due to loneliness and a sense that they were missing out on promotion and career opportunities.
If your company does decide to start a telecommuting program, make sure you set regular check-in opportunities for employees and their managers. Make expectations as to deliverables and how often employees need to check in explicit from the very beginning. You may also want to require that employees travel to the office at least once a week.
You also want to make sure telecommuting employees have an extremely secure Internet connection.
If you’re a company located other than Southern California and are looking for workers in the Anaheim or Los Angeles area, contact Helpmates to help you vet and place top talent. Contact us for more information.