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January 7, 2015
Yea or Nay to Hiring Telecommuters?
 
Due to the many advantages of hiring telecommuters, more and more industries are jumping on the telecommuting bandwagon.

Telework Research Network found that 30 million Americans work from home at least one day per week and that number is expected to increase more than 60 percent over the next few years.

If you own a business, you may need to consider offering your employees the option to telecommute in the near future.

The article "The telecommuting trend and how your company can handle it" states that 84 percent of Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" offer telecommuting, which provides many advantages to employees. You can keep up with your competitors by giving employees the option to work from home at times.

Advantages of Hiring Telecommuters
Benefits of telecommuting for the employees are great — they don't have to sit in traffic, they can usually set their own hours, they can spend more time with their kids, and they don't have to spend much money on clothes, makeup, or going out to lunch. Almost everyone who telecommutes loves it and wouldn't want to give it up.

Advantages to the employer include:
  • Long-term employees. Since most people don't want to lose their job that allows them to telecommute, you won't have the high turnover you'd have if you didn't offer flexible hours. Telecommuting generally makes for happier employees, which makes for more productive employees.
  • Saves money. Telecommuting saves the employee money, but it also saves the company money. On average, companies save over $10,000 each year for every employee that works from home.
  • Better for the environment. Some people bike to work or use public transportation, but the majority of employees across the U.S. drive to work. By allowing your employees to work from the comfort of their homes, they are not emitting toxins into the air via their cars.
  • Fewer sick days. If employees work from home, there is very little chance they will call in sick. Most likely, they will still complete all of their work without you ever even knowing that they weren't feeling their best.
Disadvantages of Hiring Telecommuters
Some employees would never want to work from home.

They like the social interaction that working in an office provides; they may feel like they wouldn't be productive at home or they may just generally enjoy working in an office and having a set schedule.

For the employer, there are a couple of disadvantages as well, including:
  • Not knowing the employees. Sure, you will "know" them via email and phone calls, but you may never meet the people that are working for you face-to-face. You won't be able to have company happy hours, holiday parties, or team-building events if your entire staff works from home.
  • Not accurately measuring productivity. Since you aren't physically working with your employees, you won't know exactly how much time and energy they are putting into their job. Maybe they work really fast and don't produce as high-quality results as you would prefer. Or maybe they work extremely hard every day, but still aren't quite up to your standards. With telecommuting, you never really know what your employees are doing and you can't accurately measure their results. 
Overall, it's up to you to decide whether or not to start offering employees the option to telecommute. You could also test it out by letting employees telecommute one or two days per week to see how everyone adjusts. If people like it (and you like it), you can offer more. If not, scale back. This gives both you and the employees the best of both worlds.

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Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and two daughters. She's passionate about writing, traveling, cooking and spending time with her family. Her writing topics include food and nutrition, travel, personal finance and small business. Sites she writes for include ripoffreport.com and those discussing college degrees.
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