Working on the train (Photo by rxb)
It was found in a recent study that around 20% of employees around the world spend a part of their work week doing their jobs from home.
Seven percent of these are those who work from home every day. Telecommuting, remote work or telework is an arrangement wherein the employees do not come in their office (or commute, hence the term) or to a central place of work.
Some work from at home while others work from coffee shops or other locations. This type of arrangement is becoming widely used among different companies all over the world although their views and standards of these countries are far from the same.
Potential benefits of Telecommuting
For starters, it can actually save the company millions of dollars. It has a significant impact on a company’s overhead expenses, at the same time helps employees save money but cutting on a commute or gas costs. Similarly, less commuters and less car users also reduce traffic congestion, road accidents and pollutants.
The flexibility of time has also helped many employees balance their life better between work and the home. Studies have shown that an employee’s productivity increases in a telecommuting arrangement. It was even found that around 75% of business or organization owners notice happier employees. This may be credited to the fact that some employees get more stressed as they are in their workplaces.
Telecommuting has also been found to possibly help keep 83% more talented women in the workplace instead of leaving in order to stay at home.
Virtual Presence Handshake (Photo by ganderssen1)
Technology has made it easy for companies and their employees to stay in touch even when they do not physically see each other in the office. For example, with a stable Internet connection, employees can still be part of conferences via some web conferencing software or phone systems. Many companies have also developed their products, like the RingCentral virtual PBX, to accommodate the growing number of companies that have telecommuters. Employees are also able to access the company’s network, and send e-mails and reports via the Internet.
But as many benefits as it has, telecommuting has also raised some drawbacks and concerns as well.
What’s stopping them?
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns of employers is “losing control” over their employees who choose to work from at home. Experts say that telecommuting only works when employers hold their people responsible for the work they are doing from at home or outside the office.
At first, productivity rate was seen to drop, most probably because those concerned are still adjusting to the “new work regimen.” In the long term, however, surveys have found that the productivity of teleworkers will climb eventually.
Another concern is that in telework arrangements, employees need to work harder to maintain good relationships with their co-workers. Not seeing them every day may cause certain conflicts to arise and some telecommuters even feel a sense of disconnection from their office.
Security is also another issue that has been raised with regards telecommuting. It was found that many telecommuters do not use their company’s data backup system that may put a lot of sensitive information at risk. Information technology issues have also been raised as one of the main problems of working from a location outside the office.
Telecommuting, in some cases, may also negatively affect a person’s career. In a recent survey it was found that people who telework are less likely to get promoted because executives cannot promote people into leadership roles if they haven’t been consistently seen and monitored.
There indeed is a lot of improvement needed for those who allow telecommuting in their offices. But one thing is certain. By giving a lot of support to their employees, businesses will definitely benefit from their being more productive, happier and healthier, regardless of where they choose to work.
What do you think about those potential risks? Have you remediated them or banned telecommuting like Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo? I am looking forward to hear you opinion around this.