Many people appreciate the opportunity to telecommute. But it has to fit the type of work being performed and the company’s culture and operating values in order to be a good fit for the business and for employees.
(PRWEB) March 08, 2013
Recently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer shook up the business world with her decision to no longer permit employees to telecommute at Yahoo. Big box retailer Best Buy followed shortly thereafter by reevaluating its company policy toward telecommuting, as reported by Susanna Kim on ABC News. While not eliminating telecommuting outright, Best Buy is rethinking the issue of which employees can work at home and who can make those decisions.
The question, asks Bop Design, a San Diego marketing agency, is whether decisions by these industry leaders will have an impact on small service companies that sometimes struggle to attract and retain talented employees.
“As with every business issue, there are pros and cons to allowing employees to work from home,” says Jeremy Durant, Business Principal at Bop Design. “Many people appreciate the opportunity to telecommute. But it has to fit the type of work being performed and the company’s culture and operating values in order to be a good fit for the business and for employees.”
On the business side, telecommuting can reduce overhead expenses associated with supplying and managing the workforce. It can also lower rent or leasing costs by requiring less square footage of office space. Numerous studies have found that employees who work remotely have fewer distractions, which leads to higher productivity. And telecommuting can boost employee morale by giving them more flexibility in regards to their work schedule.
On the employee side, working remotely can contribute to better life-balance, a big issue for employees with young children. It cuts down on the time, expense, and frustration involved in the daily commute to work. Employees often feel less stressed working at home instead of the office. And if they get sick, it lessens the chance of spreading their illness to others in the office when they can work from home.
Conversely, virtual employees can sometimes feel isolated and disconnected from the team. Research shows that in-person communications is the best way to produce trust and create unified teams, especially with newer employees. Managing a virtual worker isn’t the same as managing someone who’s in the office all day. And the fact is that some jobs require daily interaction with managers and staff, which can lead to feelings of anger and resentment from those who can’t work at home.
How do companies decide whether telecommuting is a viable option for their business?
According to human resources experts, companies should start by asking questions like: How will telecommuting benefit the business? Will it help to lower overhead or make employees more productive? Will it enable the company to recruit and hire a better caliber of employee?
Next, managers need to identify which jobs can be effectively performed at home. Then ask: Which employees will be allowed to work from home and how often? How much time will they be required to spend in the office? How will they participate in team meetings and other group events? How will managers ensure that virtual workers remain connected to the office and feel like part of the team?
Finally, companies shouldn’t overlook the technology issues. For example, what technologies will be needed for the employee to work at home? Who is responsible for buying and maintaining it? Does the company have systems in place, such as Skype or Go To Meeting, that will enable virtual face-to-face contact when needed? And most important, how will the company measure and manage the performance of telecommuting employees to ensure they’re getting the desired results?
“Many small service companies can’t offer a lot of opportunity for career advancement,” says Durant. “In those situations, telecommuting can offer a juicy plum that attracts talented people who would otherwise gravitate to larger companies. But before making it available, make sure it matches the needs of your business first, and then your workforce. Otherwise, telecommuting may cause more problems than it is worth.”
About Bop Design
Bop Design is a San Diego marketing agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business values through branding, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.