There is a clear trend toward telecommuting. In the US, 2.5% of the workforce worked from home in 2011, up from 1.86% just five years earlier. That’s minor compared to Australia. Nearly a quarter of the Australian workforce worked at least some hours at home. Here’s how to find a teleworker, what to look for in a teleworker, and some policies and procedures that help in effectively managing a worker remotely.
It was clear even as early as 1997 what telecommuting could do. The United States Dept of Transportation recognized that telecommuting increased productivity and increased commitment to the company. According to the study conducted in the early days of telecommuting, Los Angeles Co. documented a 42 percent increase in productivity… (and) an annual $6,100 cost-benefit per telecommuter to the city. In addition, telecommuting provides more flexibility as special needs arise, including maternity, illness and family issues. Another advantage of telecommuting is decreased overhead costs.
It’s not all roses, however. Before we discuss getting started, it’s worth mentioning the drawbacks. Payscale.com points out lack of communication, hindered data accessibility and the fact that you can’t see what your colleagues are doing.
Institute policies and guidelines. Be specific about what’s required of the job. Pilot test to avoid backtracking on what should have been a new policy. Establish communication methods immediately. Skype is well-known for its collaborative potential, but consider Google Hangouts as a free alternative to Skype’s paid-for group chat. This, of course, will require the right gear, so make sure that your team has the right equipment and support. Ongoing monitoring is essential to ensure that the teleworker is, indeed, cut out for the job. But before any of this, it’s important to determine which employees show promise for telework.
People come in all shapes and sizes. Their brains and work styles are no different. The fact is that there are certain personality types that thrive under telecommuting conditions. It’s critical to determine, first, which personalities are amenable to telecommuting, and second, which among your employees fit that personality description. That’s where CloudForce HR comes in.
Don’t just pilot test and potentially lose productivity and money in someone who is not cut out for telework. There are methodologies and tools for selecting the right telecommuter. We use rigorous psychometric assessments to determine whether an employee makes an effective teleworker. Contact us to discuss how we can help you save overhead costs and increase company productivity with an effective and efficient telecommuting program.