As business owners many of you are constantly thinking of ways to improve your operational maturity, get more out of your people and talent, reducing employee attrition or decreasing spending. What many don’t know is that the solution to your problems may be something that has been around for decades, telecommuting.
With improved internet speeds and reliability, unified communications and collaboration tools at the tip of our fingers it should come as no surprise to readers that the trend of telecommuting is growing and becoming increasingly more effective each year that passes. However, you may not be aware that it has been around far longer than most people realize. In fact, some the earliest known telecommuting work started in the 1970’s when soaring oil prices forced people like Jack Nilles to leverage communication technology to provide a way in which working from home was a viable option for businesses by eliminating costly commutes. Current analysis indicates that telecommuting has increased well over 100% in the last decade. With as many as 4 million people working from home in 2017 you might ask yourself whether you are missing out on the benefits of a mobile workforce.
I can be a pessimist at times and my gut reaction has always been that allowing telecommuting is a negative because I value the perception of work being done. If I can’t see you doing work I tend to think you aren’t doing work. That attitude is one that many older or non-progressive business owners tend to anchor themselves to, and it is largely inaccurate. In fact, many benefits should be noted and the very least of which should be a reduction in productivity with many telework staff and managers indicating an increase in productivity at over 50%. A recent article in Forbes also indicated that up to $1.8 trillion is lost in productivity each year due to distractions in the workplace and health problems among other factors.
With an increase in productivity being one of the better reasons to allow telecommuting an equally valuable reason is the health of your staff. How many times have you watched a flu roll through your office started by Karen’s snot nosed little kid only to cripple your team forcing you to issue a company-wide memo to stay home if you cough or sneeze? If that wasn’t reason enough for you to consider implementing telecommuting maybe the effect on your bottom line is. Downsizing your office space and saving money on your lease and operating costs might be the biggest driver for the frugally minded.
Telecommuting is not the answer for every business and certainly not for every job role or personality type. Some people thrive in face to face environments while some will see their productivity nearly double when allowed to work distraction free from their home office (or couch). Consider the options and do a test run to see how it works for you. You may just see your business take the next step in efficiency.