Creating a Telecommuting Strategy 101
New technologies supporting business connectivity have opened the door for more and more working professionals in America to ply their trades from home. Whereas in the past, value was placed on everyone being in the same room at the same location, today’s business issues are more-often-than-not discussed by phone or via video conference. This makes telecommuting much more practical for many professionals, particularly those who live far from where they work. However, for all of the advantages that telecommuting offers for employees, it presents just as many challenges for employers. Thus, for it to succeed in your organization, you need to first see to creating a telecommuting strategy that keeps off-site employees engaged in the growth and development of your company.
Gallup reports the currently 37 percent of American workers telecommute in one form or another. While telecommuting allows companies to grow without having to dedicate extra resources towards building new infrastructure, it also presents a number of difficulties in actually producing effective results. These include:
-Poor communication between on-site and off-site employees
-Difficulties in coordinating meeting schedules
-Inequity in the distribution of work
-Lack of career development and networking for at-home employees
Setting Expectations for Your Off-Site Employees
Thus, if your business wants to succeed with its satellite employees, creating a telecommuting strategy that’s demanding while also realistic is key. Here are just a few steps that you can follow:
-Start by setting work hours: While it may seem surprising, many telecommuting jobs begin with little thought given to setting a schedule. Rather, manager simply grant employee requests to work from home, thinking that despite the change in venue, work is getting done during normal business hours. However, the reason behind the request to work from home often has to do with one needing extra personal time during the regular work day. Therefore, the assumption that even those working from home are following a standard schedule is wrong. In creating a telecommuting strategy, you should first establish when at-home employees will and will not be available. This helps to set expectations for productivity, as well as assist others in communicating with them.
-Establish policies and procedures: Many companies view telecommuting as something that should be arranged on a case-by-case basis, rather than simply offering that privilege to a large number of employees. However, once the courtesy of working from home is extended to one employee, you can rest assured that other will soon approach you asking for a similar arrangement. This, in the interest of maintaining good employee morale, developing an actual at-home work policy should be included in the process of creating a telecommunications strategy. This policy should include the steps on how to request the right to telecommute, how to access company resources from home, and what penalties may be assessed if the standards of this policy are not met. It also should include some form of written agreement giving you the authority to enforce the policy’s terms.
-Require periodic office visits: The term ïout of sight, out of mindï is certainly applicable when it comes to off-site employees. Those working in the office can quickly forget about employees working from home, while at-home employees often become disconnected from the leadership teams that they should be reporting to. Thus, part of creating a telecommuting strategy should include mandating off-site employees to occasionally attend certain on-site meetings and orientations in order to ensure that everyone on your team remains on the same page. How often such meetings should occur depends on the quality of your telecommuting employees and the work that they are doing.
-Safeguard your company from security risks. Any time your business network is accessed from an external source, security concerns arise. Stakeholders in your operations may not be entirely comfortable with an employee viewing and updating business-critical data from same computer that his or her kids play solitaire on. Therefore, before granting any authority to telecommunicate, you should fist insist that the employee is able to verify the security of his or her electronic devices with your IT team.
Another important part of creating a telecommuting strategy is having a set of standards in place to evaluate new employees to which you will extend this benefit. Looking for employees with past telecommuting experience or requiring them to pass a probationary period before any employment agreement becomes finalized are examples of such standards.
Your ability to offer prospective employees the chance to work from home gives you a leg up on your competitors. Yet succeeding in telecommuting requires that expectations are set for new hires right at the outset of their employment. By utilizing the resources available through Mighty Recruiter in creating a telecommuting strategy, you’re virtually guaranteed to find off-site employees that deliver on-hand productivity.