3 Ways to Make Telecommuting Work

It likely comes as no real surprise that the telecommuting is on the rise and quickly becoming a norm in most workplaces, certainly making it a workplace trend that’s here to stay. According to a Staples Advantage study, in 2015 at least 86% of companies reported having at least some employees who telecommute, and that’s up from just 67% only five years prior. And as reported a few weeks back in the Love Your Office post, the number of people searching terms online that include “work from home”, “remote”, “part-time” and “telecommute” has increased 42.1% in just the last two years alone (Business Insider).

The fact of the matter is, there are many benefits to both employees and companies who opt to include telecommuting as part of the regular business practice. Employees can save precious time from long commutes, arriving to their desks less stressed and more focused each day. And companies can seek to bring on top talent regardless of city or region. Additional benefits companies listed as part of their telecommuting policies included:

  • 36% cited lower travel and transportation costs
  • 32% said telecommuting increases employee retention
  • 17% believe telecommuting reduces overhead costs
  • 12% find telecommuting boosts productivity

Keeping these highlights from the Staples Advantage survey in mind, here are a few important notes to remember when implementing a telecommuting policy.

Give employees the right tools for the job.
Make sure your remote workers don’t miss a thing. Arm them with the right technology and access to the right programs, including teleconferencing tools, messenger applications, and mobile phones, tablets or computers. All these things allow for spontaneous communication and group communication, no matter where your team members are.

Make sure employees are in the loop.
Keeping employees engaged is hard enough when they’re in the same office—how do you keep your remote workers engaged and happy? First and foremost, make sure to keep the lines of communication open. Keeping them up to speed on company affairs including internal communications becomes even more important when they’re not in the office to hear any announcements or  project updates first hand. Including your teleworkers in company events whenever possible, and finding tangible ways to demonstrate your appreciation.

Make other departments part of your plan.
As many as 66% of companies from the survey noted that they don’t budget for their workers who spend some (or even all) of their time working from home or on the road. This can make the procurement process much more challenging. It raises the important reminder of keeping other departments such as your procurement purchasers, IT, and HR, up to speed on your work from home policies so that those departments can ensure they have the right tools and practices in place to deal with any issues that may arise.

Have you seen success with your telecommuting policies? Comment below or tweet us at @StaplesAdvCan.


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