Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

Telecommuting is definitely on the rise. The Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently reported that telecommuting has increased threefold in the past 20 years, and more employers are beginning to offer the flexibility of working from home than ever to meet demand.

But does it really make sense for your business?

Telecommuting offers some distinct advantages for employers: mac-733178_640

While these benefits can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, there are some challenges your business must consider:

  • Nurturing a strong culture can be more difficult when several team members (or more) are working off site. Allowing employees to work off site can expose a weak corporate culture — or degrade one altogether. When your team is separated geographically each day, it can be difficult to build and nurture a sense of team. If your culture is strong; however, telecommuting can be integrated effectively. It’s imperative that your HR department work with leadership to establish clear methods for the ongoing nurturing of your corporate culture (through virtual happy hours, Skype or other video conferencing, regular phone time, intermittent office visits, etcetera).
  • Collaboration can be stifled when employees aren’t working side by side. This is especially true for smaller companies that thrive on new ideas. When employees are chatting by the water cooler or over lunch, great ideas can often result. Take away the water cooler and the lunch room, and you could miss out on game-changing innovations for your business.
  • Clients can sometimes become uneasy with a lack of face-to-face contact with your team. If your clients are accustomed to regular, in-person meetings with one or more employees who are now working from home, it could create an issue for clients that require a bit more hand holding. In today’s economy, virtual employees are becoming increasingly common; however, watching out for this potential roadblock is something you would need to do on a case by case basis.
  • Some employees may become angry if your organization decides to allow telecommuting for some, but not all, employees. Be prepared to decide just how many people can take advantage of telecommuting, and how often. Perhaps one or two days a week, or only afternoons, works for some employees and/or roles. If telecommuting is impossible for certain employees or positions, be prepared to offer some type of added bonus to compensate them and avoid hard feelings (or worse, an exit of employees en masse).

Is telecommuting right for your business? 

Careful consideration for your organization is necessary before moving forward with a telecommuting option for employees. Internally, you should have the right business structure, culture and managers to effectively lead virtual employees. Here are some key traits to ensure your managers possess before allowing telecommuting:

  • No reservations. If your managers are nervous about allowing telecommuting, they won’t be able to effectively lead. Everyone should be “all in” before making the switch.
  • Clear communication. The ability to set clear expectations and deadlines (and enforce them when necessary) becomes especially critical with telecommuting employees. Accountability is key to taking advantage of the productivity boost noted earlier. Your managers should be able to clearly communicate what is expected and when.
  • Trust. Ultimately, your managers must trust their teams in order to effectively lead them in a telecommuting environment.

Once you have the right managers in place, you’ll want to ensure the right employees are being afforded the flexibility of telecommuting. Look for these qualities:

  • Self starter. Personal accountability is critical to success in a telecommuting role. Employees should demonstrate the ability to work with little to no supervision and should be able to allocate their time effectively.
  • Strong technology. While you may provide a phone and/or laptop for your employees to use at home, you should ensure that any telecommuting employees also have solid wifi and other in-home technology to support their company technology.
  • Strong problem-solving ability. Telecommuting employees will often be on their own when it comes to solving problems. Both from a technical standpoint as well a a client perspective, challenges arise. The ability to think on their feet and get things done without being able to pop in someone’s office is key.

Before your business can consider telecommuting, you have to have the right employees in place. At Helpmates, we connect employers across Southern California with exceptional talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business achieve more.

What REALLY Motivates Employees?

As the economy continues to improve, candidates are raising their expectations when it comes to compensation and benefits from employers. Is your organization meeting those expectations?

Keys to attract and retain top talentHelpmates June Blog 2

Recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identified the top 3 drivers of job satisfaction for employees. Let’s dig into these 3 and identify how your organization can use them to win the talent war:

  1. Respectful treatment of employees at all levels. While most of us expect this type of treatment and would feel that we are also acting within this type of expectation, its presence at the top of list implies that many employees either do, or have, felt that they weren’t treated with a proper level of respect from their employer. With more employees struggling to find top talent, every organization should prioritize interaction between all levels of an organization to ensure that from candidate to employee, ever individual feels valued and respected. Encouraging an “open door” policy (where appropriate) where employees at all levels feel comfortable interacting and sharing feedback with senior management can go a long way toward ensuring a culture of respectful treatment. Additional research from BambooHR takes this notion a step further, suggestion that employees are looking for reward and recognition for superior work. Don’t be intimidated by this thought – recognition doesn’t necessarily mean cruises and lavish prizes (although those probably wouldn’t hurt!). Simply recognizing the great work of employees in meetings and other communications can be an excellent way to ensure employees feel valued. During the interview process, acknowledging impressive credentials or previous results can help demonstrate to candidates that their contributions will be valued when they join the team as well.
  2. Compensation/pay. The recession of 2008-2009 may seem like ancient history, but it has had a lasting effect on employee compensation over the past 8 years. In their research, SHRM found that compensation is rising in its importance among candidates and employees. After flat salaries or unimpressive bonuses for nearly a decade, more employees feel that the current state of the economy merits additional compensation. Among younger employees this can be especially critical, as student loan debt and other financial burdens are shown to weigh heavily on the minds of millennials. Yes, your candidates and employees place a high emphasis on respect and recognition, but compensation is heavily considered. While that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to outspend your competitors, it does mean you’ll need to do some research into average salaries for specific positions within your market. If you’re not meeting average salaries, you could be in trouble, both with recruiting and retention (which could end up being much more costly than meeting those initial salary expectations).
  3. Benefits. The numbers here should make some employers nervous: 60% of employees rated benefits as a very important contributor to job satisfaction, but 68% of employees aren’t currently satisfied with the overall benefits package offered by their employers. Want to get candidates in the door and keep them there? It might be time to overhaul your offering. If you’re really looking to stand out, wellness and pension programs, or benefits designed to support families currently show the least amount of satisfaction. Most organizations have got basics like health and PTO benefits covered – now’s the time to get creative and see how your benefits can support and nurture employees to help them feel valued and secure while working for your organization.

While there certainly weren’t any surprises on this list, that doesn’t mean these factors are any less critical. In fact, understanding the nuances of today’s employees in relation to these factors is an important step toward attracting and retaining top talent. Finding the right balance between compensation and benefits is key – the team of experts at Helpmates can help you understand the competitive salaries needed to attract and retain talent, identify top benefits that are likely to help you stand out, and most importantly – help you find candidates who are ready to step in and make an immediate impact on your organization. Contact your nearest Helpmates office today to learn more about how we can help your organization maximize its talent investment.

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