Telecommuting On The Rise

What’s driving these trends? What does the future look like? And, will the rise of telecommuting mean the end of the office? Telecommuting has been on the rise since technology made it possible. Thanks to technology, we’re always connected to work — even when we don’t want to be connected.

The phenomenon appears to be growing. The annual survey last year by the Society for Human Resource Management found a greater increase in the number of companies planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than those offering just about any other new benefit.

As this movement grows, being clear about what we mean by telecommuting is important. What we do know is that telecommuting isn’t limited to one sector of the population. We also know that those who work at home tend to put in longer hours and are often more productive. It works best when a company has developed a plan, including the best technology to use. We also know it can hurt an employee’s promotion chances and that some combination of working at home and in the office seems ideal.

Though not all jobs are compatible with all types of telecommuting, when used properly, telecommuting can be a powerful tool to advance and retain the talent that employers need to stay at the top of their industries.

Who Benefits from Telecommuting?

In a struggling economy, telecommuting offers a beneficial alternative to traditional work for both employers and employees. Organizations that employ telecommuters see benefits across the board. Growing companies demand a way to keep productivity and employee retention rates high while keeping overhead costs low. Telecommuting may be the answer. Though telecommuting does have some drawbacks, its benefits far outweigh its negatives.

People worldwide are telecommuting for various size companies.  For the employee, this means spending less on gas, no more business casual office attire, and working in a comfortable and quiet workplace. Employees wake up for work and commute just steps away to their home offices. Commuting enables the worker to avoid the stress and dangers of rush hour traffic and reclaim many hours of time that weren’t even being compensated anyway.

When telecommuters are on the clock, you often see that they are “working” but some are shuffling papers in an effort to look busy. This type of busy work and other office distractions lose money for companies across the country. Experienced teleworkers manage their time efficiently and work in a comfortable, distraction-free environment.

There are a variety of other benefits for the employer.  If you run a small business or organization, keep reading to learn how telecommuting can improve the overall efficiency and quality of your company, making it more eco-friendly.

  1. Increased Productivity – Contrary to what many organizations believe, research has shown that telecommuting actually increases productivity among workers. Improved productivity leads to more efficient operations which allows you to be more environmentally friendly.
  2. Higher Retention Rates – Finding and recruiting quality staff is time consuming. With telecommuting, your employees are satisfied and are more likely to stay with your company long-term. Again, studies show that employees who are allowed to work remotely, are happier than those who aren’t. This level of employee happiness can save you a significant amount of money in the long-run by reducing costly employee turnover.
  3. Competitive Edge – Due to the difficult process of recruiting, organizations need an edge over the competition in order to hire and keep exceptional talent. That’s exactly what telecommuting offers.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness – Believe it or not, employees aren’t the only people who see telecommuting as a benefit financially. Employers reduce costs associated with the office itself–the size of the office, the furniture, the electricity used, the cost of heating, cooling the office space and other overhead costs.

In conclusion, employers should begin exploring telecommuting for their work environment as an option.  You can embrace cloud-based productivity and collaboration platforms such as Google Docs, Office 365 and Dropbox, and even online tools like Skype and Facebook that enable communication.

 

Useful Tools in a Virtual Environment

We are all fortunate to live in an era in which technology allows individuals to work in a virtual environment. A virtual work force can be the most flexible, productive and effective organizational structure. With any organization, there are communication challenges. However, the great news is that there are useful tools that enable teams to work efficiently and effectively. These forms of communication enhance productivity and without getting in the way meeting goals and the mission. Some examples are, Join Me, Google Meeting, Google Calendar, Google Talk, voicemail and email. These are excellent tools for screen sharing in conference calls, as well as more direct project collaborations. Most importantly, is the ability to work with your teams to adapt to a virtual work environment. Please read more

Virtual Human Resources

A virtual organization is a network of organizations that make it possible to be flexible with various resources and is created to meet the dynamics of the market. It consists of individuals working out of physically dispersed work places, or even individuals working out of mobile devices and not tied to any particular workplace. If we look at the distinction between a traditional organization and virtual organization, we know that every organization requires a team to carry out its activities. The driving force is the virtual team where members interact primarily through some combination of electronic communication systems. The need for virtual teams is increasing, particularly in global organizations. However, virtual teams cannot work successfully without personalized trust relationships with Human Resources Management. These relationships are normally established through face-to-face interaction and socialization. In a virtual environment, it is important that Human Resources establish criteria when hiring the virtual staff. In addition, they must create activities that will help them get to know the virtual teams. A white paper by InterCall does a great job of outlining trends and insights on hiring. Please read more

Advantages and Challenges of Virtual Teams

Today, it is rare for companies not to have teams dispersed across countries, cultures and time zones – colleagues who are expected to work together while at the same time working apart. Teams are the typical building blocks of an organization. They provide companies with the means to combine the various skills, talents and perspectives of a group of individuals to achieve corporate goals. Managing remote teams isn’t easy. Turning virtual teams into high performance ones is even harder. Employers expect that employees working remote will be great performers. Most important, it’s not about the employees, but instead about the context that’s developed for them by managers who know how to successfully create the right environment for high performing virtual and remote teams. Along with the challenges to managing a virtual team, there are benefits. Please read more

10 Ways to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams

Managing a virtual team may have some challenges but there are many advantages. Traditional office working is losing ground as the best way to work which is why it is so important to understand how to successfully manage a virtual team. One of the key starting points is to get organized. This means that you need to layout a plan of the day’s activities and not in the traditional sense. Compile a list of to do’s that happen regularly including conference calls, virtual face-to-face meetings and online resources that help the team do their job efficiently and effectively. The best practice is to create a virtual personality and presence through continuous communication. Entreprenuer.com does an excellent job in outlining tips to successful management of a virtual team. Please read more

Managing Virtual Teams: Ten Tips

There are plenty of people who work from home occasionally and plenty of managers work with people in different offices.  But what if the entire company consists of people working in different locations?  With today’s fast paced business climate, it’s rare that one or more employees are not working virtually.  While offering this option is great for employee recruiting and retention, it places new burdens on company management. A Professor at IESE Business School gives his insight on how to manage virtual teams and keep the business moving forward. Read article written by Forbes: Managing Virtual Teams: Ten Tips.