Where Are Your Employees Best Suited? 3

In the ‘old days’ of the business world, most employees (minus those with delivery jobs, jobs involving travel, public protection, etc.) came to an office and spent the better part of their day or night working out of that building.

While that still holds true today in many circles, it is also a fact that the computer age has allowed more and more employees to call their homes their offices on a part or full-time basis.

So, are you in a position to offer employees an option of working from home either a portion of or all the time?

Of course much of this depends on what line of business you are in, what is required of each employee as it relates to getting the job done, meeting customer needs and so on. In the end, however, more employers are taking a second look at this issue, some of whom are coming to the conclusion that it sometimes behooves them to let employees work from where they will be most productive.

As gas prices continue their upward climb, rents continue to be high for many office spaces, and more and more parents are trying to juggle both their careers and their families, it certainly does not hurt to put the option of some or all work from home on the table for valued employees.

So, you’re running a business and you are contemplating letting some or the majority of your employees do a portion or all of their work from home. The big question then becomes what are the pros and cons to such a move?

Pros and Cons of Working from Home

First, review some of the pros to employees calling their home their full or part-time workplace:

  • Workers trim expenses like gasoline, an especially important matter given the recent spike in prices at the pump;
  • Workers can stay away from long commutes, which can impact actual work time, meaning more time to focus on work and less time to count license plates;
  • Workers are generally more relaxed at home, thereby likely meaning better work results.

As far as potential cons to employees working out of their home:

  • Workers are not in the office in person when needed for spur of the moment meetings, quick question and answer moments, etc. This can lead to having to phone, text or email them several times a day in order to do what can typically be done in just minutes when everyone is under one roof;
  • Workers are not under your supervision during the day like they would be in an office setting, therefore you can only assume the necessary work is being taken care of;
  • Workers could be submitting sensitive company data via an unsecure home computer and/or computer problems are not easily attainable from an in-house technician.

After considering the pros and cons, is it in your best interests  to let some  employees work from home  or should they all remain under one roof? If so, prior to giving the go-ahead to telecommuting, make sure you cover all the bases so that both the business and your staff know the rules.

If you are worried about your employees not completing their work tasks from home, there are ways around that. One option for business owners is monitoring their employees via their computers while they’re working.

Something as simple as computer software to show when employees sign on and off, how many hours they spent online, what they were doing online, etc. are easily accessible options for business owners to deploy.

Needless to say, there are different issues to review and discuss when considering letting employees work from home.

Working from one’s home can be a great option for workers, but it needs to be done with the understanding that the same work effort is expected of employees when not leaving their home as is when they enter your building.

photo by flickr user Plutor

About the Author With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers business topics for a variety of websites. Read more »

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  • http://www.callboxinc.com Judy Caroll

    Hi Dave,

    Tweeted your post;) Letting our employees work from home can benefit our workers, our company and the bottom line. We just need to provide the right arrangement or create the right workplace culture. What do I mean? We need to take into account stuff like training, communication issues and security. If everyone becomes responsible with their tasks and obligations, everything will fall correctly.

    Thanks,

    Judy

  • http://www.corevalues.com Dianne Crampton

    Good post. I sent it to my tribe on Facebook and to LinkedIn. Workforce Development Planning that aligns business strategies and systems is critical for ORG leaders as we stumble out of the Great Recession. With the high number of Actively Engaged employees (according to recent Gallup findings) this offers a solution. Also it is a business plan item. Very good read.

  • Pingback: 5 ways to help remote workers thrive

  • dave thomas

    Judy/Dianne,

    Thanks for reading. I have always believed that self-discipline is very important when it comes to working from home. When I did work from home, I always made sure to get dressed as if I was going into an office, work the same hours I would in an office, etc. Being I work as an online editor, a previous employer I worked for was sold and new owner would not allow me to work from remote location, hence I turned down the offer to go with the new owner. I think there are still a lot of employers out there that want to micromanage employees and have them under their nose 8 hours a day. Granted, some employees take advantage of the situation when working from home, making it harder for those of us who are responsible enough to work in such a situation. Another former employer I worked for involved a 60 to 90 minute commute each way to the office. When asked about working from home one day a week, it was quickly shot down. Given that commute, I left there after six months when I saw that the company was only interested in what was best for them, not trying to find something that was best for both of us. As I told them, the time spent in traffic on the freeway could have been put to much better use.