Many business owners are learning that allowing staff to work from home (aka, telecommuting or teleworking) really does reap hard business benefits. Driven by the overlap in work and home life, teleworking is growing in popularity as the solution for employees who often need to be in two places at one time. This emerging business strategy is supported by evidence which shows that high-quality work can be produced equally in both settings. A successful work from home program requires leading-edge business tools and technology to enable a remote workforce and to give employers ongoing confidence in the program.
When Working from Home Makes Sense
Most employees can benefit from working at home at one time or another due to the nearly frenzied pace of today’s work environment, in which employees find themselves with increased pressure and demands. Often, working from home provides the calm that produces high-quality work. And for salaried employees for whom overtime comes with the job, spending all those hours in the office can be detrimental to their work-life balance and stress level. Given these circumstances, working from home can be the most logical approach to meeting business imperatives. For example:
- The Red-Eye: If one of your employees is attending a business event after work and long into the night, it could be unproductive to have him or her return to the office at 7 a.m. the next morning.
- The Boomerang: If an employee lives only 10 minutes away from a client’s headquarters but over an hour away from the office, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have him or her come into the office on the day of a visit to the client’s site.
- The Fire Drill: If an employee is drowning in work one week, it would be beneficial to give him or her the extra hours at home that might otherwise be eaten up by a lengthy commute.
- The Jet Lag: If an employee has been out of the office traveling for business, it might be best for his or her stress level and workflow management to have a couple days at home – away from the hustle and bustle – to play catch-up.
Working from home enables employees to start work early and/or work late to manage their responsibilities at their own pace. This functions as a company perk, further enhancing job satisfaction and loyalty.
Have the Right Tools and Technology?
The success of your at-home workers also depends on how technologically equipped they are. Therefore, business owners need to be selective when choosing technology, from desktop software solutions to business phone systems. Vonage Business, for example, can arm telecommuting employees with numerous mobility phone features, as well as mobile apps for iOS® and Android®. And with plug and play technology, employees even have the option of taking their desk phones home – plugging into the Internet and enjoying full in-office functionality.
For many, working from home is no longer a preference – it’s a necessity. And the convenience and added productivity makes telecommuting a welcome addition to nearly anyone’s work schedule. What’s most important is that you create a thoughtful telecommuting plan with input from your employees and arm them with the tools and technology to be successful. Otherwise, you could be limiting your organization’s full potential.