In today’s fast paced, dynamic world, a new tool that has yet to be successfully widely employed is telecommuting, the ability of having a knowledge worker work from wherever, not just the office! If your firm is NOT taking advantage of this new tool, you are behind the times, are losing valuable productivity and profits, and decreasing employee morale.
Telecommuting allows many workers to work whenever and wherever, despite the job or task. Do you care when the work is done, if it gets done to the standards you define? Your answer should be, “No, I don’t care, I just want to complete the task!” Here are key benefits to telecommuting:
- Saves time, increases employee morale
- Reduces the carbon footprint — nobody is driving when working at home or the coffee shop
- Decreases need for increased office space — if the employee is not on site, you need not provide an office space for the employee
- No in-office distractions or time-wasting discussions
- Allows for reduced child care expenses, greater family bonding
- More “creative juice flowing” time, allows for bigger and greater idea generation when one is “in the zone” on a project
- Increased production and work output
Academic research has shown that telecommuting workers work longer and are more productive when working at home than in the office. Part of this is because telecommuters are more conscientious about their workload, even if they are working in their PJ’s or “glad rags” while getting the job done.
Management has a responsibility to clearly define the “rules of engagement” for the telecommuter — but not at any greater level than in the office. If the work gets done, who cares where the worker is physically located? The real honest answer should be, “Nobody!”
Management needs to define the rules of the project, i.e., “I need the slide deck by 5PM on Wednesday, no more than 30 slides, no ‘eye test’ charts, using the standard company template. Use colors, video and audio as you see fit.” Fair? Once questions have been answered, let the employee run — you will be amazed at the results. Try it — trust me, it works!