What are the biggest advantages of telecommuting?
In this article, we’ll cover five of the biggest reasons why telecommuting is beneficial both for employees and for organizations.
However, it is important to understand that telecommuting is like every other business process – it has its pros and cons.
Understanding this fact can help employers specifically account for and mitigate those obstacles, while also taking advantage of the biggest benefits that telecommuting has to offer.
Let’s look at some of those advantages now.
5 of the Biggest Advantages of Telecommuting
1. Improved Productivity
One Stanford study found that employees are much more productive when working from home than from the office.
There are fewer distractions when working from home, which makes it easier to concentrate and work effectively.
In fact, workers actually end up putting in more work hours since they spend less time commuting.
In short: not only do employees prefer working remotely, their output and performance both improve.
2. Flexibility with Scheduling
Many remote workers are afforded a great deal of flexibility with their scheduling.
That flexibility, combined with many of the other benefits here, all add up to make telecommuting that much more attractive for employees.
Not all job positions allow workers to be flexible with their work hours, of course.
Certain positions or telecommuting policies, for instance, may require workers to begin and end their shifts at the same time.
When scheduling flexibility is available, however, it is just one more reason to consider implementing a telecommuting program.
3. Flexibility of Location
Another commonly reported benefit of telecommuting is the ability to work from anywhere.
In many cases, all an employee needs to work remotely is a laptop and an internet connection. This means that remote workers can work from practically anywhere.
That flexibility is perhaps one of the major forces that has helped to fuel the growth of telecommuting in recent years.
It has given rise not only to working from home (WFH), but also to “location independent” workers such as digital nomads, who work while traveling.
Regardless of whether an employee chooses to work from home or from an exotic location overseas, the flexibility to work anywhere is one of the biggest reasons why employees choose to telecommute.
From the organization’s perspective, location should be irrelevant, as long as workers can meet performance expectations.
4. The Lack of a Commute
Commuting takes a certain toll on employees, not only on their time but also on their emotions.
Studies have shown that commuting takes a number of tolls on employees:
- Those with long commutes suffer from more psychosomatic disorders
- Bad weather, traffic, accidents, and other factors can all add to commuting-related stress
- Time spent commuting is unproductive from the standpoint of the organization
In other words, commuting can create a large number of stressors and can even contribute to health problems for workers.
Remote working completely removes the need for a commute – and, consequently, removes a number of stressors that can lead to health problems.
It also saves money for employees, who no longer need to pay for gas or public transportation.
Also, as we saw above, not having to commute can actually drive many employees to put in more work time for their employers.
5. Slashed Costs for the Organization
Telecommuting can also save costs across several areas:
- Office costs
- Telecommuting costs
- Employee turnover
- Workplace efficiency
With a properly developed telecommuting policy, an organization can reap all of these savings, while making employees happier in the process.
Of course, to maximize the ROI of a telecommuting program, it is necessary to create and execute a strategic teleworking program.
Maximizing Telecommuting Benefits with a Structured Remote Work Program
To earn the benefits covered above, organizations should create a strategic remote working program aimed at minimizing challenges and maximizing the benefits associated with remote working.
Here are a few components to include in a teleworking program:
- Digital training solutions. Digital training, such as software training, is a must for any remote workforce. With the right software skills, employees can stay productive and relevant, even as the workplace continues to evolve and change.
- Training employees how to work remotely. There are disadvantages to working remotely. But it is possible to mitigate those disadvantages with the right techniques and approach. To ensure that employees stay productive, businesses should provide this information to employees as early as possible.
- A telecommuting toolbox. Telecommuting software includes communication tools, software training tools, HR tools, and more. Employees must have access to – and training on – these tools in order to be productive.
- A telecommuting policy. A telecommuting policy will provide the guidelines employees need to work effectively and productively. It will define procedures, apps, expectations, and other important information needed to ensure the smooth operation of a virtual workplace.
With the right tools, the right approach, and the right management, a virtual workplace can become as productive – or even more productive – than an on-site workforce.
Of course, it requires a number of ingredients, including proactive management and leadership, as discussed above.