Making Telecommuting Successful

Published: 2021-06-29 06:41:15
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Making Telecommuting Successful
Telecommuting, simply defined, "includes any method for working productively while away from the traditional office" (ATA, 2008). In 2009, there were an estimated 2.9 million, full-time telecommuters in the United States and upwards of 33 million, part-time telecommuters (Meinert, 2011). The demand for telecommuting continues and some reports suggest that during this decade most workers will be mobile to some degree (TelCoa, 2011). In order to institute successful telecommuting programs, HR professionals must understand the benefits of telecommuting as well as the challenges associated with selling, implementing and evaluating these programs.
Telecommuting is a benefit that employees are increasingly demanding. Many organizations are using telecommuting as a means to attract and retain top talent (Meinert, 2011). Dice.com recently reported that, "more than one-third of technology professionals said they'd cut their salary by up to 10 percent in exchange for telecommuting full-time," (Hill, 2011). Telecommuting is a powerful tool and is being used in a variety of ways to benefit employees as well as employers. Telecommuting opportunities can help attract skilled workers, which may not be present in the local labor force. It can also be used as a means to create more balance between an employee's work and family life. It can reduce the employer's need for office space, thus saving money on physical space and the utilities associated with that space. It can be a great means to accommodate employees with disabilities or special needs, and certainly can be beneficial to business continuity during disasters and emergencies. Telecommuting can also have a positive environmental impact by reducing traffic pollution (Kirk & Belovics, 2006; Meinert, 2011; TelCoa, 2010).
Telecommuting clearly benefits employees as well as organizations, but selling the concept of remote work can be difficult. With change always comes some resistance. Some managers may be resistant to allowing employees to work out-of-site. It is easier to propose a telecommuting policy to reluctant mangers, by clearly defining all aspects of telecommuting including: management and communication techniques, performance standards and goals, and safety concerns. Managers may struggle to determine how to effectively monitor a telecommuter's productivity, and employees may find it difficult to maintain manager's trust when working outside of the office. Training programs to address these issues should be considered when selling the program (Kirk & Belovics, 2006). Without strong support from management, HR professionals will find it difficult to sell telecommuting as a new policy.

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