Telecommuting or working from home has been an excellent way for companies to hire more talent without expanding their physical working space. While startups and small business find it easy to build their business model on telecommuting, established business and corporations have always had a hard time making the shift.
To institutions that have been in business for years, telecommuting isn’t as easy as setting up some video conferencing and cloud-based document management software for the employees before permitting them to work from home.
It takes meticulous planning if you are to reap of the telecommuting benefits and avoid crippling your otherwise thriving business.
Tech Unlocks Successful Telecommuting
Your first focus should be on a comprehensive set of tools that will work collaboration in the new work environment efficient and seamless. Your employees must have access to vital information, have the power to talk to each other securely on demand and submit their deliverables remotely.
Have a meeting with your IT department and some telecommuting experts to evaluate your work process and establish if it is already suitable for telecommuting or pinpoint changes you have to make before pulling the trigger.
Set Standard Operating Procedures
With some people working out of the office, it will be harder to instill discipline and ensure that goals are met. You can root out chaos by establishing rules and penalties that will put everyone in check. Some of the things you should agree on include:
1. Get an established schedule when the employee will be available online.
2. Look for ways to keep vital information confidential.
3. Define the characteristics of an acceptable remote workplace.
4. Come up with a new remote working compensation program.
5. Set strict deliverable deadlines and look for a way to ensure they are met.
Such rules give your employees some grounding hence giving them a sense of direction in everything they do. Moreover, you should state that ground rules for telecommuting are subject to change and that your telecommuting employees must show up in the office for special meetings or refreshers several times in a week or a month.
Not Everyone Can Telecommute
Telecommuting takes a lot of discipline and self-drive. Not all employees can pull it off. Ask the HR department to identify motivated employees who manage their time well with minimum supervision. You can also make the selection criteria public so that other employees can work towards qualifying for a telecommuting slot.
Approved employees should also know that working from home can be taken from them if their performance drops.
Remember that not all positions are eligible for telecommuting. Some positions are best handled when that employee shows up at your work premises physically. Such position holders will have either to work all week at the office or only have one to two days of telecommuting.
Letting some people work off the office is a great cost-cutting incentive as long as it doesn’t affect your productivity as a company. You will have less operating costs while improving or maintaining your turnover. Either way, your profit margins will grow tremendously.