The definition of the modern workforce is changing and with millennials playing the strongest role in ruling the business world, the employee expectations from the top-level management are shifting. Nevertheless, today’s working generation is a lot different from what the employees used to be 10 years back. Knowledge workers and the field-force are becoming more responsibility-oriented and production-driven with a tendency to get more done in less time. Today’s workforce believes in leading a fulfilling day with complete work-life balance without compromising on work efficiency, performance, and timeliness. No wonder, telecommuting as a concept is gaining momentum with each passing day.
What is Telecommuting
In simplest terms, ‘telecommuting’ is the ability to complete office works from anywhere and anytime, without having to physically be present in the office premise or building. Also known as e-commuting, telecommuting offers the much-needed flexibility to employees and enables them to work from anywhere outside the brick-and-mortar office space – be it from home, be it from somewhere while traveling or from various other places like a coffee shop, a library, a hotel room or even from a children’s park! The employees while working remotely keep in touch with the co-workers, teams, managers, and customers via telecommunication links like phone calls, webcams, online fax services, distant conferencing, emails and instant messaging app and so on. Thanks to the advanced mobile communication technologies and smart devices that have made telecommuting come a long way in driving modern workforces.
Telecommuting Trends and Stats
With an increasing number of employees who prefer agility and flexibility at work, telecommuting or the concept of remote work is gaining popularity in organizations belonging to high-tech, financial, transportation and communications industries. Several forward-thinking and progressive companies are embracing telecommuting options as one of their core business strategies, 3 names to reckon with are Dell, Xerox, and Aetna. A very extensive study and survey report made by OWL Labs reveals the following statistics about telecommuting:
- Employees with the flexibility to work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to be productive at happy at work than the ones bound with desk jobs.
- Companies allowing remote work to their employees witness 25% less staff turnover than those companies who don’t have telecommuting strategy
- At large, 53% of worldwide respondents admitted that they feel happy and produce better at work with telecommuting opportunities
- 35% of respondents have agreed that telecommuting offers better options for quality employment.
- Among all the global companies, 44% don’t have remote work options, 16% allow full remote work options and 40% have a mix of remote and in-office work options.
Business Benefits of Telecommuting
Telecommuting or remote work options are paving newer ways for 21st-century companies to gain multiple business benefits – it’s rather a win-win situation for both enterprise and employees. The most obvious benefits, evident by the above-mentioned study report, comprise of employee happiness, elated sense of job satisfaction and heightened productivity driven by flexibility and agility to complete office work from anywhere and anytime. Flexible and remote work options accelerate a company’s retention policy as lessens the staff turnover rate. Companies spend a lot in interviewing and training employees and hence it is always advisable to adopt progressive employee-flexibility policies like telecommuting to retain the best talents. Another advantage of remote work is that the employees will have the ability to be on-the-go to physically meet a specific customer or stakeholder whenever required by the business. Executives who have the flexibility to telecommute have shown 100% satisfaction, happiness and engagement towards their work and at the office. Companies with telecommuting options can often save money in expenses around space, equipment and electricity and other operational costs.
Challenges of telecommuting and ways to overcome them
Like every coin has two sides, telecommuting also comes with some unavoidable disadvantages. Apart from the situational feeling of isolation that working from home sometimes bring in, there can other distractions like a crying child, an annoying pet, uninvited guests and so on. There may be occasions wherein glitches in communication channels hinders team collaboration and a lack of direct supervision sometimes pose a challenge, and above all, there’ll always be concerns about security breaches of corporate data and other mission-critical enterprise information in case of device theft or loss. Working remotely in isolation also means there will be no brainstorming sessions that often leave loose ends of a tactical problem. Also, it should be kept in mind that telecommuting is not an option for every employee or every job function. To avoid these and many other challenges that can come in between company flexibility policies and employee productivity, companies can take the following measures:
- Company should have a well-planned telecommuting or remote work strategy and guidelines wherein they have to define the realistic goals and workability
- Managers should work around a document with a list of benefits, challenges, drawbacks and technological necessities to drive a remote workforce
- Employees should be interviewed to understand their competencies, limitations, scope of work and other responsibilities before being given the option to work remotely
- Management should communicate with and educate the employees about the rules and policies of telecommuting along with training them to use virtual collaboration tools
- A proper and practical set of IT security policies have to apply to keep corporate data and device safe from falling in the wrong hands
- Companies can also invest in a robust Mobile Device Management software to control, secure and monitor enterprise devices from the backend and optimize the users’ productivity
If done with perfect management and planning while protecting the corporate data with robust IT security policies, telecommuting proves to be of immensely advantageous for both companies as well as the employees – ensuring employee productivity, job satisfaction, enhanced engagement, improved customer experience, and company cost savings, all at once. A robust and intuitive Mobile Device Management solution like Scalefusion goes a long way in ensuring successful operation of your remote workforce – credit goes to its enterprise-level management and security features and UEM capabilities, which enable companies to accelerate employee productivity, remotely in real time.