Allowing employees to work from home or a remote location has many advantages.
It is important the employer evaluate the operations of the telecommuting arrangement before agreeing to do it because it must be a win-win for both the employer and employee. The employer must also benefit from an employee that is allowed to work from home, and this benefit can sometimes only be measured in “soft costs” because the benefit may ultimately be improved productivity by the employee and less sick days. Telecommuting can be doled out to employees as a privilege or a benefit, because not all employees will be given the opportunity to skip the commute and work from home.
Office overhead expenses can be reduced by allowing employees to telecommute and work from home. Cost savings will only be fully realized if the employee telecommutes nearly one hundred percent of their time. By having the employee use their home as their office, the company will be able to free up office space and support staff. If an employee only telecommutes part-time, then an office, desk, equipment and support staff will still have to be maintained at the employer’s location, which would effectively double the cost. This is not a prudent choice.
There have been many studies that have proven that employees are happier and their production levels are higher when they are allowed to work at home. In order to insure that the telecommuting employee produces an acceptable level of work, a communications routine and measurable job performance standard must be agreed upon before the employee is allowed to work at home. It is also important to find a way to include the telecommuting employee in critical meetings and functions in order to avoid the employee feeling isolated and therefore frustrated by the working arrangement. Hence, inclusive management is required for the telecommuting arrangement to be successful.
Not too long ago, companies only allowed employees that are mostly engaged in field sales to be able to telecommute. But as technology has continued to improve markedly, so has the ability to increase the potential labor pool of employees by allowing other types of employees to be able to telecommute.