Telecommuting, or working from a location other than an official jobsite, is a great way to boost employee morale, save money on office space, and help reduce automotive emissions. While there are many positive outcomes of telecommuting, there are also pitfalls that must be avoided. Before implementing a telecommuting policy, there are several considerations every organization should consider.
First, it’s important to consider who might be eligible to work from home. Are there specific positions that can be identified for telecommuting? Are there positions where telecommuting is not an option? How will this be decided?
One consideration is the ability to track employee workload. Is there a method of measuring productivity for each position eligible for telecommuting?
Next, a decision must be made about the approval process for working offsite. Will there be an application process? What will the process involve? Some employees, while they might be eligible based on position, are not self-motivated and wouldn’t be good candidates for telecommuting. In this situation, there must be the ability for management to decline the application for telecommuting.
However, there must be clear guidelines so the process for approval is fair and unbiased. Who will make the final decision if an employee requests approval to telecommute? How will this be conveyed to the employee? Will the employee have the ability to appeal the process?
Telecommuting involves technology. What equipment will the organization provide for the employee? Who will be responsible for setting up and providing maintenance on the equipment? If a laptop is used, will the employee be expected to bring it into the office for scheduled maintenance and upgrades or can that be handled remotely?
Telecommuting also involves costs. Will the company pay for an Internet connection? A phone connection or mobile phone contract? These costs must be considered before authorizing an employee to telecommute. If it’s not cost-effective for the company, it might not make sense to implement a telecommuting policy.
The final consideration before allowing employees to telecommute is the process for revoking the privilege. It must be written into the policy that telecommuting can be discontinued, and the reasons this may occur. This will remind employees that certain standards must be maintained in order to continue working offsite.
By John Benson