So what is Telecommuting?
Telecommuting (a.k.a. e-commuting, e-work, working from home, working at home and telework) can be defined, most simply as: An arrangement or agreement between an employer and a hired employee which allows for the employee to work directly and flexibly from the employee’s own home. Advantages for the employee and the employer are often immeasurable. The title “telecommute” is used primarily in the United States and demonstrates its top convenience to the employee because the word captures the idea of replacing the workers drive or commute to the actual worksite of the employer. The work assigned is being handled by the employee with electronic means, landline(s) and fax.
Advantages for the employee
Although there are numerous advantages to the worker, the top 5 are listed to better visualize just how wonderful a job assignment like this would be.
1. The most obvious and already covered would be to visualize not having to make the drive into work each day. Which carries with it other advantages such as no expenditure on fuel for a vehicle as the employee is already at work. Second, would be time. Many employees in today’s job market must travel greater distances to the job. This could result in a time savings to some of over an hour a day.
2. In many cases, the employee can enjoy working their own hours. In some, but not all, of these jobs the employer will require a set amount of hours dedicated to the assignments given each work day. Often leaving the worker to decide exactly when those hours will be. This type of flexibility is uncommon in the traditional workplace.
3. In many instances the flexibility can be even greater because working at home means wearing what you want, taking breaks when needed to provide for other family issues or circumstances. This freedom of stop and go work would be unheard of in the traditional scene. One couldn’t leave four times to take care of laundry, babies feeding or taking the pet outside.
4. Monetary savings that will affect a households bottom line in a large number of ways. For instance, the savings alone on gas for the car could actually buy week’s worth of groceries. The savings on clothing that would normally need purchased for dress codes would be substantial over a year. Savings in the form of eating out for lunches and breaks, as your own refrigerator or cabinets become your ‘shop’ for meals and snacks.
5. Although you are truly working for a company, who is paying you by the hour or even a salary and even a commission the worker can almost be described as their own boss. Gone is the micro managing, the constant workplace interruptions, putting up with others who the worker may dislike but have to work with daily. Extra work added to the day, due to others who have called in sick.
Visualizing the above, top 5 reasons, for almost anyone would be enough to sell them immediately on this concept. However, there are some disadvantages that need mentioning as well. Keep in mind that working in a traditional job at a specific locations means also a social network. Those needing contact with other humans during the course of the workday may find working from home, a bit lonely. If one were a socialite, enjoyed being a part of office or work gossip this might not be the right choice for your work atmosphere.
Advantages for the employer
1. All corporations rely heavily on bottom lines and profitability. A key metric of any bottom line is always “overhead” costs. By allowing an employee to work from home a company can see a large savings in many aspects of their overhead costs. For example, utilities which are a big chunk of the cost to run a business daily.
2. Telecommuters are overall happier people which in turn results in a higher productivity. Productivity almost always equates to improved profit margins.
3. Reduction in absenteeism and tardiness creates not only a happier traditional workplace but a better running system. Employees who work from home are less likely no miss the daily work due to an illness as they have more access to the important things needed when feeling ill. Restroom is only steps away, usually and obviously more accommodating. Medications needed during an illness often can’t be used at the workplace due to the side effects. Less sick and ill workers means less people getting a cold or virus at the workplace from a sick co-worker. Less parents missing work, because their child is sick. Working at home allows for the parent to be a parent in all manners.
4. Less time wasted for mandatory breaks as outlined by company policy or laws. Less time workers spend visiting with co-workers about non-work related topics (water cooler circles). Longer hours are usually spent by the worker because there is more time allotted due to time saved as mentioned above. Generally speaking, most telecommuters are highly, self-motivated people who do not procrastinate and more detail oriented meaning higher productivity.
5. Safety: Fewer workers at the workplace may result in less OSHA recordable incidents which are generally very high on most corporate levels of assessment. Less chances of workers being injured, causing more missed work and the potential for a workman’s comp claim which means a positive effect to that bottom line. Retention: Happy and satisfied employees do not need to go anywhere else to work. Reduction in retention rates means less spending on the normal things required to replace workers. The costs of training alone can jeopardize many head count budgets. Less workers because of head count restrictions means more work to the workers already employed.
Happy employees mean greater profits for any company. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually trying to capture the medium levels needed to create such a work atmosphere. This arrangement takes almost every issue, that would be presented in a common workplace and removes it from the equation. Happy and satisfied employees work harder, are more detailed in their work and often are much more productive. All in all, Telecommute hands down is a winner for everyone and is being publicly recognized and utilized more and more every day.