Telecommuting, tele-workers, work from home, and hoteling are all terms that are synonymous with working remotely. And although telecommuting is not new, new technologies are making it easier and more cost-effective for companies to deploy. An interesting fact that I discovered while researching this was back in the 1970’s, employers in California started to explore telecommuting as an alternative to the traditional office model in an attempt to reduce traffic and save our planet. Today, more companies are embracing the concept of telecommuting and benefiting from higher levels of productivity, improved customer service & support, and better employee morale.
Looking at both sides, telecommuting doesn’t work for all companies or all employees. In addition to the technology piece, which includes establishing remote access to your computer network and phone system, there are other things that need to be considered. Some of which include but are not limited to human resource issues, how to manage remote employees, network security, and one’s ability to work alone.
According to Wikipedia, over 50 million US workers (about 40% of the working population) could work from home at least part of the time; however, only 2.5 million employees in 2008 considered their home as their primary place of business, not including the self-employed sector. (Most of the statistics I was able to find were at least 3 years old).
So there’s a tremendous opportunity for employers, employees and technology providers. Since our expertise is in the area of helping you get the best results and cost savings through the use of technology, that is our focus here. We’ll leave the “how-to’s” on managing and motivating your remote staff up to those experts. In the meantime, here are some questions for you to consider:
- Can any of our staff benefit from working from a home office?
- Looking at our staff that is currently working remote, how could better integration improve communications internally and externally?
- Can our company benefit from telecommuting and thereby need less office space?
- What other value does telecommuting offer our company, staff, and potential new hires?
- Do we have any full or part-time positions that could be supported by a remote employee?
- What are the negative implications of telecommuting in our organization?
- Can we expand our geographic footprint or talent pool by offering telecommuting?
- Would desktop video enhance internal communications?
True telecommuting means that you have a secure, remote access connection for your computer; and transparency for answering, transferring, and calling at a minimum. Newer technology allows for instant messaging, call recording, mobile app’s, and much more.
These ideas may just be a tip of the iceberg in your planning. However, it may also be an easier implementation than you’re anticipating. We’re interested in your thoughts. Contact us or share your comments by leaving a reply below.