Isaac Asimov once said, “The only constant is change.” This is not only true in life, but in business as well. One trend that has changed in recent times is the popularity of telecommuting. Even though many people have differing opinions concerning this, it has not been around long enough, on a big enough scale, to see its true impact on business. Some of the common question business owners ask themselves when deciding if allowing employees to telecommute are, “Will it make the employees more productive, happier, lonelier, disconnected, or more connected? Will telecommuting negatively or positively affect the company culture?” It’s a tough decision, and like most tough decisions, there isn’t one answer that works for everyone.
Some studies show there are huge benefits to telecommuting. We’ve laid out several pros and cons below:
- Telecommuters work longer hours, as they aren’t wasting time travelling.
- Telecommuters have more control over their lives, which leads to less stress, more happiness, and more productivity.
- Employees can take advantage of their most productive hours, even if that is the middle of the night, and can modify their working hours to their lifestyle.
- Telecommuting is great for those who do not thrive in the typical structured nine-to-five work environment.
- Self-reliance and time management skills are encouraged by telecommuting.
- Telecommuting also gives employers more freedom to hire skilled individuals without the cost of moving them across the globe.
- Telecommuting can save the employee and employer money.
Cons – the flip side
- Telecommuting can lead to burnout and resentment of the company if they work too much.
- Telecommuters may feel ostracized from the rest of the team.
- Telecommuters can suffer a lack of motivation and if a manager isn’t fully engaged in the employee’s daily workload, the employee could take advantage and slack off.
- Telecommuting can lead to a break down in communication due to distance.
- Telecommuting can require a little more time than normal to set up a home office.
At the end of the day, successful telecommuting takes strong time management skills from the employee, strong communication lines between the manager and the employees, and finally managers must have a strong understanding of the responsibilities of their employees and the time it takes them to complete the tasks. As we move deeper into this technological age, we see that people enjoy independent working more and more. So will telecommuting be the future of business or is it just a trend? What do you think?