Business trends change from year to year and sometimes even month to month. One of the most debated about trends is telecommuting. There are a lot of opinions concerning Telecommuting; unfortunately, as it is a fairly recent trend there is not much data around it. Does it make employees more productive or not? Does it make them happier, lonelier, disconnected, or more connected? What about the cost for the company? Does it cost more or less? These are some of the many questions businesses must consider when deciding if allowing employees to telecommute fits their company’s structure and style.
This study shows there can be great benefits to telecommuting. Below we’ve laid out some pros and cons:
- Telecommuters work longer hours, as they aren’t wasting time commuting.
- Telecommuters are happier, as they are in the comfort of their own home.
- Telecommuters are happier, as they have more freedom to manage work time with their family lives. Having the freedom to pick up the kids, or work during their prime productivity time, even if it’s midnight, can be a relief to the traditional structured nine-to-five
- Telecommuters are generally more productive.
- Telecommuting encourages self-reliance and problem solving, and develops time management skills.
- Telecommuting allows employers to hire highly skilled people.
- Telecommuting can save the employee and employer money.
Cons – of course, there is a flip side to every coin.
- Telecommuters may suffer burnout if they work too much.
- Telecommuters may feel ostracized from the rest of the team.
- Telecommuting can lead to a lack of motivation, as there is not a physical tie to the rest of the team.
- 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 need to 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?