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So, Your Employees Want To Telecommute?

Originally posted by United Benefits Advisors, LLC (UBA)

Does your company have employees who are tired of the daily grind that is commute to the office, perform duties with coworkers, and then commute home? Have you considered just how badly they may want to work from home — or from any location for that matter? Maybe these employees are willing to work longer hours for the same salary or are willing to take a cut in pay.

According to an article on SHRM.org (the Society for Human Resource Management), Staples’ third annual telecommuting survey found that more than 70% of telecommuters consider teleworking an important benefit when considering a new job and that 10% would take a pay cut in order to keep teleworking. In fact, the survey also discovered that more than a third of people would choose telecommuting in lieu of more money.

Why would people be willing to hinder their career advancement or current salary? It’s simple. When it comes down to it, most telecommuting employees place a priority on striking a balance between work life and home life. This, in turn, may lead to happier and more productive employees. Telecommuting can also be used to leverage recruiting. As an employer, if you’re flexible and are able to support staff with the tools they need to telecommute, then this easily translates into an advantage when recruiting top talent.

Something else to consider is the potential win-win for both employer and employee. That same Staples study cited reduced stress, less absenteeism, and happier employees as a major benefit of telecommuting. Of course, there are also challenges and pitfalls for employers to overcome.

For companies that have bring your own device (BYOD) policies for telecommuting employees, there is a need to educate these workers on security and the importance of using appropriate equipment and software including virus and password protection as well as data backup and encryption. Another obstacle is that many employers don’t have a virtual private network (VPN) as a way for employees to connect. Perhaps the biggest challenge to employers is to ensure they’re not playing favorites and allowing some employees to telecommute while barring others who may perform the same duties or be at the same position level. By having a uniform telecommuting policy, an employer can avoid a potential issue versus granting this on a case-by-case basis.

HR departments and senior managers who are willing to sift through all the details involved with allowing employees to telecommute are more likely to reap the benefits associated with this perk.