Great Ideas for your Small Business: Consider Telecommuting as an Option
Telecommuting has tremendous benefits for workers and employers, but only if it’s handled right. Telecommuting can boost the productivity of workers who are independent self-starters. Motivated employees who live far from their offices can accomplish more by eliminating a long and stressful commute.
Here are some tips if you are considering telecommuting as an option for your business:
- Determine whether the work can be done offsite. If the staff person is responsible for writing proposals or crunching numbers all day, telecommuting is a viable option. If he or she is managing a team of salespeople, it probably won’t work.
- Figure out what equipment, software, and furniture you’ll need to provide for your remote workers and whether it’s worth the investment.
- Determine which of your employees are best suited to working at home. In many cases, employees ask to telecommute as a way to spend more time with their young children or to care for a sick relative.
- Set up a probationary period to see if telecommuting works.
- Begin with one or two days a week—this gives you a chance to work out the kinks. Then try it for a month or two. Tell your telecommuters that this arrangement is considered experimental and could end at any time.
- Be sure telecommuters understand that keeping company files and information confidential and safe is essential. This is one case where if the “dog ate my homework,” it could be disastrous.
- Stay home and telecommute at least one day a week yourself.
Many busy managers I know swear by this. Have your office transfer calls to your home. If working at home is not a good option, check into assigning workers to telecommuting centers opening up around the country.