As a small-business owner, what might be the No. 1 reason you don’t want your employees working from home? It’s probably the idea of not knowing what your employees are actually doing. Of course, that is a legitimate concern—how do you really know what your employees are doing when they are “working from home”? It’s human nature to be suspicious.
The idea of “telecommuting” is increasing in popularity in the business world. Technology exists that enables employees to access work files remotely. Telecommute-friendly technology also enables at-home employees to communicate with clients or other workers through video and instant messaging.
Here are some telecommuting benefits for business owners:
Employee retention. Allowing employees to work from home gives them more incentive to stay with their employers. Why? Because they enjoy working from home—who doesn’t? Some employees thrive when working from home, and, as a result, employers reap the fruits of higher productivity.
Talent attraction. Time and distance could keep the best available talent from joining your company. Implementing programs that enable employees to work from home, in the office, or from any office around the world would remove that barrier. What once could have been a huge hurdle for some—getting to the office—no longer keeps strong talent away.
Savings. Business owners will no doubt save money from telecommuting. Why? Because business owners will not be required to maintain “seats” for all employees at their companies. When employees work remotely, employers save on the expenses associated with having in-office employees.
You might be saying that this all sounds great, but again, how do you know what your employees are doing when they are not in the office? An important necessity for small-business owners who use these new technologies is to implement guidelines for employees to follow. First and foremost, small-business owners should require at-home workers to communicate where they are and what they are doing. Why keep tabs? The obvious reason is to relieve the stress of not knowing where employees are. Keeping tabs also lets everyone else know what’s going on. It lets everyone know that the lines are open and that distant employees are ready to work. In other words, it helps build trust.
All in all, business owners who allow their employees to telecommute are likely to see benefits. Incorporating a telecommuting strategy, even if it’s for one day a month, will keep employees happy, attract new talent, and save some money.