Is your Workplace Ready to Support Telecommuting?

If your workplace hasn’t yet embraced telecommuting, it likely soon will. Telecommuting is on the rise and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. 

But as you probably are aware, opening the door to teleworking isn’t as simple as agreeing to it.  There is a lot that goes into ensuring your remote worker program is successful.  Also, if the telecommuting concept still very foreign, you might be apprehensive about a few things. Will employees slack off? How do you measure its success? What tools are needed? What if it doesn’t work?

The good news is that remote work can increase productivity. It may seem unlikely, but with less distractions, no water cooler talk, and no impromptu meetings, most remote workers find they actually get more done. A report by ConnectSolutions revealed that approximately 30% of employees agreed that telecommuting allowed them to accomplish more in less time, while 24% of those surveyed said they were able to accomplish more in about the same amount of time. Telecommuting can also lower stress, reduce turnover, and decrease your carbon footprint.

Below are a few tips to ensure your telecommuting strategy is a success.

Encourage work life balance

Just because your employees are working from home doesn’t mean they don’t still need and require downtime. There is a lot of pressure for remote employee to ‘always be online’. A 2014 Cornerstone report revealed that 26% of remote employees said they feel they can’t “turn off” and are often working during their personal time. Create some parameters so employees feel they can still achieve a healthy work life balance.

Find the right tools

It’s not as difficult as it once was to find solid collaboration tools to support telecommuting, but you still need to be strategic in the applications you choose. Tools such as video and VoIP solutions, instant messaging, and sharing platforms help employees feel connected despite any geographical distance. If you have a multiple tools you will want to make sure they integrate with each other. For example, your enterprise YouTube should integrate video and webcasts into applications like SharePoint, Jive, or Yammer.

Use the technology you acquire

Many organizations adopt sophisticated technology, yet fail to use it to its full advantage. If you acquire an enterprise video portal for employee communication, leverage that investment by also using it as an e-learning platform. Even for employees that aren’t remote, learning through video is more proven way to learn. You can also use video for webcasting and town hall meetings. 

Even if you disagree with the concept of telecommuting, consider how many works days may be lost to inclement weather, car trouble, or family commitments. Not being prepared can put you at a disadvantage.  

And if you think telecommuting is ‘just a millennial fad’ think again. Employees over the age of 64 are working more than any other time since the turn of the century. According to an AARP survey, 74 percent of older Americans would want work flexibility and 34 percent would like to work from home. After all, teleworking isn’t just a phase, but rather a fundamental shift in how we work.

 

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