Telecommuting 101

Telecommuting/telework – clearly, there is no stopping it. More than just affecting the way people work, it also affects how they live. There has been several cases that telecommuting has been beneficial to companies and their employees. For companies, there are significant savings in overhead costs and the need for office space, reduction in punctuality and other travel-related issues, and a better come-on to prospective job applicants. For employees, they can work in a comfortable setting, avoid commuting and the financial and physical (not to mention, emotional) costs it brings, and they can attend to their family’s needs.

This article won’t try to sell the idea of telecommuting. You should be ready to jump into it by now, whether you’re a leader looking into your company’s HR policies or an employee trying to achieve a better work-life balance. Implementing telecommuting benefits at work is a whole different ballgame. So how does one make it work in a company?

Here’s a list of questions you need to answer in order to implement telecommuting.

1. Set Rules or Policies. Just because they work anywhere doesn’t mean they don’t follow rules. You might want to ask these questions:

–> How often is an employee allowed to telework? Everyday? Three (3) times a week?

–> Are they required to follow company business hours?

–> How do they clock in/check in to

–> Who is allowed to telecommute?

These questions can bring up serious concerns but if you are able to answer it and bring a strong policy about telecommuting then you are on the right track.

2. Set Expectations or Goals. What do you expect from someone working from home? You might want to try answering these:

–> How much telework is expected from your employee?

–> How will you measure your employees KPIs from the other side of the world?

–> How will you track time and monitor tasks/deliverables?

–> When do you expect your employee to do an online meeting with you?

Expectation is needed so you know how your employee will act upon. This also prevents employees from slacking off  because they know their work is being measured.

3. Set Company Culture. Make sure you have a healthy environment for both teleworkers and office based employees. You want to be able to keep that rapport from each of your employees.

–> When is the next R&R?

–> When are they required to personally go to the office or gather with other employees?

–> How do we refresh the minds of these people?

–> How can you encourage your employees?

There are other questions that you need to ask (For example, “Do we have the technology to enable telecommuting?”) but the questions above are just a guide on how to jumpstart telework in your company. It’s better to discuss it openly so everybody is on the same page. It’s important to determine how you can maximize its benefits for you and your employees. The question is no longer “why?” but “when?” because as we speak, more and more professionals are embracing the telecommuter’s way of life and companies have to do something about it.


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