Should you allow telework?

112613-teleworkIf you’ve moved your business and its data to the cloud, you already know that doing so can make it easier for you to work and run your business from anywhere. If you’ve got employees, it may just be a matter of time before they request the option to work from home. Should you let your employees telework? Here are a few things to consider before you say yes or no.

Does your business lend itself to telework?

If employees spend most of their day working at their desks, your business may lend itself to telework. Accessing the data from the office for work is the same as accessing it from home for work. Even employees who occasionally need to leave the office to meet with clients could be candidates for telework if they spend most of the rest of the time at their desks working.

But, if your business requires lots of collaboration and meetings between employees, or an employee’s job requires work that can only be done in the office, some or all of your workers may not be candidates for telework.

Trust, loyalty, and recruiting

Do you trust your employees? Letting someone work from home requires a lot of trust. You need to know that they will spend their time working and to be careful with the data they’re working with. Some research shows that employees who work from home spend more time working than their in-office colleagues because they don’t have the distractions of watercooler conversations, impromptu parties, or random meetings.

Other research says allowing employees to work from home can increase their loyalty to your company. They appreciate that you trust them and recognize their need for flexibility. Who would want to give that up?

If you allow employees to telework some or all of the time, that fact could be a powerful recruiting tool. Employees looking for flexible work hours or the trust of their employer could be more attracted to your company because you allow telework.

You know your employees best, but these qualities are common among those who are best suited for telework: Self reliant, self motivated, communicative, and able to handle ambiguity. Do you know any employees like that?

It could save you money

Allowing some or all of your employees to telework full- or part-time could save your business money. You’d save on office space and equipment expenses. No need for all those offices and equipment if no one is using them every day! Plus, absenteeism can decrease. For example, if an employee’s child is sick, they can continue to work from home rather than taking a sick day.

Telework can also save your employees money – especially in commuting costs.

Technology makes it easy

Many of your employees’ homes are already set up for telework. Most people have high-speed Internet access and computers. (Or, you could supply laptop computers for your employees to use for work at home and at the office.) Instant messaging programs and video conference services are easy to use and often free. There’s no reason for an at-home employee to be out of touch with the office when instant communication over any distance is so easy.

Not All or Nothing

The decision to telework isn’t an all-or-nothing decision. If you decide to allow it, it is important to set clear guidelines. You can allow telework a few days a week but require employees to come into the office the other days. You can require telework employees to come to regularly scheduled meetings to check in and stay acquainted with their in-office colleagues. Or, you can allow telework on a situational basis – rather than taking a sick day to care for an ill child, you could allow the employee to work from home that day.

Only you can decide if allowing your employees to telework is right for your business. There are some disadvantages to consider:

  • Employees who can’t work from home could become resentful of those who can.
  • You lose some office camaraderie when everyone isn’t there every day.
  • Some employees will take advantage of the freedom and be less productive.
  • Your sensitive business data will be accessed outside the office.
  • Communication – while made easier by technology – is a little harder when you can’t just walk up to someone’s desk. You lose spontaneity when someone’s not there.

If you’ve got questions about moving your business to the cloud, PNSolutions can help! We can also help you make sure your network and data is safe and secure, no matter where your employees access it. Contact us today!

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