As a business owner, you probably hear about telecommuting and having employees work from home fairly often. Your initial thought may be that allowing employees to work from home would be counterproductive and nothing but a hassle. But when you understand the benefits of allowing employees to work from home and you have some good ideas on how to do it properly, then you will start to see the benefits that other business owners are already enjoying.
When you have remote employees, you no longer need office space. That means that you can either sub-let portions of the space you have, or just move the company to a smaller office that requires less rent. Less employees means less utilities you have to pay for, less office equipment you have to buy, and it also means a significant drop in the maintenance costs for your office space and your equipment.
The money saved by allowing employees to utilize their own utilities and space would be significant and you can recommend to your employees that they get in touch with a tax expert to learn how to write-off work at home expenses on their taxes.
Office Politics Cease To Become A Distraction
When your employees no longer work together in the same office, then there is no time for the gossip and drama that creates office politics. If you think about how much productivity you lose because of office conflicts and petty differences between employees, you can start to see the benefit for breaking up your staff and having them work from home.
Productivity Actually Goes Up
When employees really are sick and they call in to work, you lose productivity for that day. In many cases, an employee that considers themselves sick enough to stay home is not so sick that they cannot surf the Internet and watch television while they are convalescing in their bedroom.
Work at home employees, especially ones that are allowed to choose their own work hours, tend to be more productive and do not allow illness to get in the way of their work. They would rather finish their work and be done with it than have to let it sit for a day. When they work at home, they don't need to call in sick. They can just stay home and work.
Another boost to productivity comes when you realize that not everyone likes to get up in the morning and drive to the office. A "mental health" day often comes from an employee deciding that they simply do not have the energy to drive to work, so they call in. It costs you money and it reduces productivity. That problem is eliminated when employees work from home.
How Do You Get Employees To Be More Productive From Home?
Some employees, such as sales and support professionals, are required to be available to customers during scheduled hours. But many of your employees do project-based work and can be assigned deadlines to complete those projects. Instead of punching a time clock, an employee would be accountable to get their work done by a company-mandated deadline. This allows employees to make their own schedules and increases productivity.
Diane is a sales support associate from Fargo, ND and she needs to submit her daily summary report from the previous day by 10:00 a.m. the following morning. " The information I need for my summary report is compiled in our system around midnight," she said. "When I had to work in the office all the time, I would have to rush around and compile the report in a couple of hours just to get it in on time. But now I have the facilities to work from home, I often stay up later and do my report when it is available, and then go to bed when the report is done."
Setting deadlines that are reasonable makes it easier for your management team to track employee productivity. When employees work from home, they should be allowed to choose the hours they work, so long as they meet their deadlines. You can also set times during the day when staff members need to be made available for any emergency that may come up.
Utilize The Internet
There are companies that offer full suites of virtual office software through their websites that will allow you to track employee productivity, maintain communication with employees, keep track of employees that must meet hourly obligations, and anything else you need to do with your work at home staff.
The Internet also has something allowed for cloud computing and VoIP. With cloud computing, your employees can access the full company network through any Internet-based computer. That means that you would not have to supply computers to your staff because, more than likely, they already have Internet-based computers at home.
A spokesperson for liGo an eCommerce store which provide telephones said, "VoIP is an Internet-based phone system that allows you to have employees from all over the world using the same phone network. You can administer the network from one central place and add remote employees at any time. This may require you to get a special piece of equipment to each employee and perhaps a phone as well, but it still saves you a great deal of money over maintaining an expensive in-house network and it allows you to have remote employees located all over the world who are all on the same phone system."
It Is The Way Of The Future
When employees understand what is expected of them and have a clearly defined business process, it is easy to get them acclimated to working from home. Instead of making it mandatory for all of your employees, ask employees to volunteer to work from home. You may find that some of your employees just prefer coming to the office each morning. But each employee that decides to work from home is going to save you money and allow your business to grow.