January 14, 2013

Overcoming the three fears of telecommuting

published this at 2:23 pm

By Kelly Gregorio

home office space

Is telecommuting right for you?

In today’s digital world telecommuting is becoming more of a common practice. Increased productivity, a “greener” business approach, time and funds saved from a commute are just a few of the benefits. Still, as an employer there are some drawbacks to consider. Below are the top 3 fears of telecommuting and tips on how to overcome them.

Will Everyone Want to Telecommute?

It is important to remember that telecommuting is not the right fit for every employee. Positions that require constant supervision and collaboration are not ideal. However, independent positions that are results-oriented might make a good candidate for telecommuting. Another thing to consider: equipment. Someone who requires a photocopier, scanner and the latest software might not make for an ideal telecommute worker; however a job that simply requires a laptop and access to the internet could work. When making the decision to offer the telecommute option remember it will not apply to the entire company, decide first which jobs are the right fit.

Is Anybody Out There?

As an employer you might be hesitant to allow employees to work from home because of the potential communication gap. Luckily, instant messaging, emailing and texts can put you in direct contact with your virtual workers during normal business hours. Need the face-to-face? Skype is a great (and free) advancement that will allow you to look your employee in the eye while discussing upcoming and ongoing projects. Finally, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly trips to the office are a great way to reconnect and to allow your employee to still feel like he/she is a part of the office team.

How Can I Make This Work?

Before undergoing any telecommuting option it is most important to draw out expectations with your employee. Requiring your worker to send daily follow-up reports of productivity is a smart way to stay on the same page. Routine scheduled phone calls can keep the lines of communication open and objectives on track. By establishing clearly defined goals and checkpoints, you and your employee will be clear on what is expected to be produced in and outside of the cubicle.

Telecommuting is a viable option for the right company. If you feel like your business might be a candidate consider the benefits. Fewer interruptions make for a more productive employee, employee retention and job attractiveness are bound to increase, and temporary inter-office problems such as sickness or power outages are less of a problem for the at-home worker. By preparing for the possible downsides, employers can assess if telecommuting is a feasible option for their employees, creating a happier work environment both near and far.

Author’s Bio: Kelly Gregorio writes about relevant topics that affect small businesses while working at Merchant Resources International. You can follow her daily blog at http://www.cashprior.com/blog.

Image: Flickr creative commons – mccun934

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