Telecommuting: Everything You Need to Know

HR Management
Nikki Webman December 29, 2021 7 min read

Telecommuting can be tricky but when you have the proper tools and procedures in place, it can be a huge boost to your business. Everything you need to know, including the pros and cons of telecommuting, is included here to help you prepare for remote working.

A worker who is happy to be telecommuting from home

Quick Guide

    Telecommuting might have been something that you experimented with pre-pandemic, but hadn’t been completely decided on until the pandemic forced your business’ hand.  

    However, as we start to regain some sense of normalcy, companies must decide whether they want all their employees to come back to the office, continue telecommuting, or continue with a hybrid of both.  

    There are many aspects to take into account here: you’ll want to consider the technological tools available to the public, and the changes you can expect to see in engagement and productivity. 

    To determine whether telecommuting your business is best for both you and your employees, you’ll first need a run down of everything there is to know about it. 

    Firstly, What is Telecommuting?

    The official telecommuting definition refers to an employee who has made an arrangement with their employer to work “remotely”, that is, outside of the company’s office. 

    The key to telecommuting is technology. Whether your staff are working remotely at home, at a library, coffee shop, or a shared workspace place, you will need: 

    Through the pandemic some things stayed the same but many things changed the way we work; a slew of tools are now available to make telecommuting easier for both employers and workers. Obviously, all of them have different functions and serve different purposes. But all of them are geared toward keeping you and your workers connected when they can’t physically be in the same place. With these tools and a little bit of adjustment from workers and managers, telecommuting is easier and more realistic than ever.

    The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting 

    While telecommuting is more viable than ever, it’s far from perfect. After all, there are reasons as to why the ‘pre-Covid’ times were mostly office-based. That being said, there are both pros and cons for companies to consider before they decide to make telecommuting a permanent way of business. 

    Pros

    Save Money

    First and foremost, you should know that with telecommuting, your business will save money. When businesses operate in complete remote mode or only have a few employees reporting to the office, it can downsize the space needed. As a result, you can save a lot on resources and rent, significantly reducing business overhead

    Increase in Productivity 

    While most business owners are skeptical of this, employees working from home see a direct positive correlation to their productivity. One thing you could do is think about what makes a good employee; another thing you could focus on is hiring only the most self-motivated of workers  so you can feel confident your employees are doing what they should be while they’re telecommuting. However, if you feel more comfortable with direct management tactics, then you could always learn more about how to manage a remote team

    Say Goodbye to Nonsensical Distractions

    Let’s go one step further to discuss how office politics and the social element of working in an office can result in a negative workspace. That can provide distraction just as easily as the potential distractions at home. In fact, a majority of people feel as if they’re more productive when left to their own devices at home rather than dealing with the distractions of being in an office.

    Expand Globally 

    Finally, companies that are partially or fully remote have a unique opportunity to expand their hiring pool of potential employees. When recruiting new employees, job pools are sometimes limited to people who live in a particular area or those willing to relocate to a specific city. But there are no such restrictions with telecommuting, including the entire employee onboarding process. In theory, a company can search worldwide for the best talent available, knowing that anyone will be able to telecommute. Part time or full time, local or far-off, the scheduling flexibility is endless. 

    Cons

    The cons of remote work are slightly more obvious than the pros, and that is why most companies were reluctant to try it before the pandemic forced their hand.

    Communication Barriers

    It’s hard to deny that supervision and communication between employees and their managers are different when done remotely. There is always a fear that some things will get lost in translation if internal communication is done virtually rather than face to face. 

    Separating Work with Personal Time

    Some people are more easily distracted than others and find it difficult to separate work time from personal time which results in trust issues. Some will be more inclined to take frequent breaks, while other employees might burn out because they don’t know when to stop and end up working long hours. 

    Increased Turnover, Low Retention

    There is also the possibility of employees feeling disconnected from the company and their co-workers if they work from home. Some people will miss the social component of going to work, especially if they live alone. They might feel isolated without the daily human interaction they typically get at the office. As a result, they start to feel more like an independent contractor rather than an employee who’s committed to helping the company itself succeed. That can harm employee loyalty and retention, increasing turnover within the company. To avoid this sort of problem, management could focus on team engagement ideas to triumph over this. 

    Frequently Asked Questions of Telecommuting

    If you’re still a little unclear as to what telecommuting means and you’re still wondering if it’s a good fit for your business, here are some common questions about telecommuting you might want to know the answers to.

    Are employees forced to telecommute?

    It’s important to note that some industries are based primarily in the field, such as construction, healthline services, security, and other deskless teams. These industries might find it more difficult to telecommute, unless they have the right technological tools to do so. So, if telecommuting is the only answer to the way in which your business needs to function, then you as a business owner should make that experience as seamless, and as comfortable as possible. We suggest that you find a solution that can handle employee job scheduling, checklists and forms, timesheets, time tracking, chats and updates (and more) from afar; and that could easily be solved even in just one business and employee management app

    How can you prepare employees to work from home?

    Not everything can go according to plan, so having a contingency plan for all areas of your business would be a good idea. In any case, you should expect to have a few hiccups come your way when employees transition to working remotely

    A few effective ways to prepare yourself and your employees include: 

    • Be – and stay – patient 
    • Make sure they have everything they need
    • Do they have a desk or home office space where they can concentrate? 
    • Encourage employees to get into a rhythm and follow a daily schedule while working from home the same way they would if they were going to the office

    How can you tell an employee is struggling with remote work?

    Managers and supervisors should train themselves well enough to spot workers who are struggling. Ask yourself

    • Is there a lack of communication with an employee? 
    • Is that employee’s quality of work subpar based on their past work?

    Managing a remote team shouldn’t change how supervisors communicate with workers or how they hold them accountable, so make sure these aspects are business as usual to make people feel as comfortable as possible while telecommuting.

    Technology Helps you Connect

    As mentioned, technology is fundamental in making telecommuting possible. 

    Connecteam is one of the best tools available for helping businesses keep their employees connected whether they are fully remote, partially remote, or still working in an office. The app has functions that can assist with everything you ended to run your business remotely, including 

    And more, to keep your business and employees focused, engaged and working.

    Make Telecommuting A Reality For Your Business!

    Try the Connecteam app today with the 14-day free trial, no credit card required!

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