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 office-bound counterparts. This research suggests telecommuting may benefit both employee and employer.
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.
Employee benefits of telecommuting
• Increased productivity: Whether it's the lack of distractions or no commute time, working at home can actually increase productivity. In a recent survey, 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 at any time, while 18 percent indicated they'd go into work, but only during non-business hours.
• Cost Savings: A study conducted by Stanford University professor Nick Bloom found that employees who worked at home put in longer hours, took fewer breaks, used less sick time and were less likely to quit 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, family obligations, and health and fitness 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. In fact, 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.
• Provide balance. 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, when employees are expected to be in-house. Or offer a hybrid arrangement where staff must spend a predetermined percentage of their time in the office.
• Give them the tools they need. 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 or Keyboard Notepad for easy access.
• Establish ground rules. Will you require employees to maintain specific work hours? Will check-ins be needed? Are there certain performance indicators that must be demonstrated? Define expectations in your telecommuting policies during onboarding 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.