Making the Transition to Telecommuting Doesn't Have to be Painful
Professionals have fantasized about it for years – working on the beach with nothing but the wind and sand to distract them. The only thing needed was a laptop and high-speed connection and all work could be completed without a hitch. Conferencing tools is a great addition, but most of us have that capability on our phones – why not just telecommute at all times?
This scenario may be exactly why some business leaders are hesitant to make the move to allow telecommuting for their employees. It’s a hard shift from a structured environment where supervisors can see what employees are up to at all times to go to one where trust plays a much bigger role. Yes, some are able to implement monitoring software to know when employees are actually working and when they’re not – but that isn’t the best way to facilitate trusted and productive relationships.
A recent blog from AT&T offers insight from the enterprise perspective. For a number of companies, the goal is to leverage technology that allows them to work with their employees, providing a better work-life balance. It’s a progressive approach to business that can deliver benefits on both sides. It allows for diversity in that the company is no longer limited to hiring only those who are able to travel to their location. Using telecommuting, they can instead hire any skillset from any location.
There’s also significant cost savings that can be put in place. When conferencing is the main communication tool instead of a conference room, the company can save significant dollars. There no longer needs to be a large location to house every employee. At the same time, the company needs a lot less on-site equipment to support staff and less square footage that must be managed, cleaned, lit, heated and cooled.
Faster response times can also be a reality for those companies that rely on their internal staff to support the customer base. When all employees are located in one spot, getting to all customers in a timely manner can be a logistical challenge at times. If employees are strategically located closer to customers, response times drastically improve. Such a competitive advantage is important in a market where customers can so easily switch to a different provider.
Finally, there’s the reality of reduced travel time to consider with telecommuting. The company with multiple locations has a tougher time keeping travel expenses under control when conferencing isn’t in place. Why not leverage the latest technology that enables people to focus on those elements they do best and get back to work instead of spending time on the road?
While it can be a challenge making the shift from a strict, structured employee environment to one that allows for flexibility and telecommuting, the use of conferencing is a great way to ease the transition. And while you won’t get it perfect the first time, there’s no reason why it can’t be successful in the long-run.