An increasing number of employers are allowing staff the flexibility to work from home. According to a recent Gallup® poll, the average worker telecommutes about two days per month. The same poll indicates that those who work remotely at least some of the time are more likely to be engaged in their work than their non-remote working counterparts. This research suggests there may be both employee and employer benefits of telecommuting.
Work from home policies can act as a guide and encourage success for both parties. Explore the employer benefits of telecommuting, as well as best practices to help steer your company and your team in the right direction.
Employer benefits of telecommuting
- Increased productivity: Whether it’s due to the lack of distractions or eliminating commute time, working at home can actually increase productivity. A recent survey of job seekers looking for more flexible work conditions were asked, “Where do you go when you really need to get something done for work?” The majority (54 percent) reported their home was the place to hunker down. Only 19 percent reported they’d go into the office; 18 percent indicated they’d only go into work during non-business hours.
- Cost savings: A study conducted by Stanford University professor Nick Bloom found that those employees who worked at home put in longer hours, took fewer breaks, used less sick time and quit less often than their in-office colleagues. The same research revealed that the average company saved about $2,000 for each employee who worked remotely.
- Recruitment: Work/life balance, health and fitness, and family are just some of the reasons people want the flexibility to work from home. Not offering those perks can cause your company to lose out on valuable talent. According to one survey, 39 percent of people have turned down a job because the employer didn’t offer flexible work options.
If the employer benefits of telecommuting sound appealing and you’re considering offering flexible work options, make sure you have work from home policies and best practices in place.
First, provide balance. A recent Forbes® article reminds us telecommuting doesn’t have to be all or nothing—in fact, some employers prefer to have some in-person face time. Consider setting core office hours, where employees are expected to be in-house. Or offer a hybrid arrangement where staff must spend a predefined percent of their time in the office.
Second, ensure at-home employees thrive by providing access to tools they’ll need to succeed. Bluetooth® ear buds), portable power banks and USB hubs come in handy when working remotely. Access to and training on messaging platforms, virtual meeting software and collaboration tools are helpful, too. Consider imprinting frequently used URLs as well as helpful tips and troubleshooting info on a mouse pad (any) or monitor cleaning cloth for easy access.
Third, establish some ground rules. Will you require employees to be available during certain hours? Will check-ins be needed? Are there certain performance indicators that must be demonstrated? Define expectations in your telecommuting policies and during on-boarding to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The employer benefits of telecommuting are vast—telecommuting can increase productivity, save money and expand your talent pool. Work from home policies that focus on best practices and ways to succeed ensure victory for all.
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