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How to Know if Telecommuting Works for Your Business

How to Know if Telecommuting Works for Your Business

Maybe telecommuting was instituted in your business years ago; maybe you’re just beginning to consider it as an alternative to everyone being at their desks by 9 a.m. (or earlier). If you’re thinking about establishing a telecommuting policy, you have a lot of factors to consider during your ever-longer commute.

A successful telecommuting policy starts with a thorough assessment of your corporate culture, your industry type, your operating budget, and your employees’ needs. Here’s a list of considerations to help assess whether your business is a good candidate for telecommuting:

  1. Automation – Data-driven businesses like accounting, records management, and marketing are obvious candidates for telecommuting. Even in settings like factories and doctors’ offices, technology can reduce the need for “appointment” work hours. Robotic manufacturing, AS/RS, and the iPad telepresence robot are just a few of the ways staff can work remotely at least a portion of the work week.
  2. Operating costs – Who wouldn’t want to reduce their real estate costs? If you don’t routinely need to have all your employees in the same place at the same time, you need a lot less space. Fluctuating desk/benching needs can be met with mobile reconfigurable workspaces and modular cabinetry. Combine the flexibility of adaptive workspaces with the smaller footprint of high-density movable shelving and files, and you’ve got a sizable reduction in your bottom line.
  3. Workstyle – Telecommuting requires managers to empower their employees to make independent decisions, and to trust staff to be productive without in-person monitoring. Sound decision-making is the product of good training, something you’d want to provide in any case. Monitoring a telecommuter’s output is relatively simple with networked technology. And if your managers have to supervise your employees every minute of the day, maybe you don’t have a staff problem. Maybe you have a management problem.
  4. Human resourcesStudies show telecommuting has a positive effect on employees’ health and productivity, thanks to reduced commute-related stress. In addition, employees are enthusiastic about the flexible hours that telecommuting can provide. If you’re looking for a way to retain your best employees, attract top-quality new hires, and reduce your health insurance costs, telecommuting may be a key.
  5. “Green” policy – Telecommuting can contribute greatly to your green initiative with a reduced carbon footprint. Not only do you feel good about making a positive difference to the environment, telecommuting also enhances your company’s image as a good corporate citizen.

Self-knowledge is a vital part of any endeavor, whether personal or business. Reflect on how your company gets the job done, and whether telecommuting can step up your success. It could be a winning plan.


Photo © Eric Hood/