Should You Allow Telecommuting?

I think the internet is the most important thing mankind has invented in the past 500 years, even more so than penicillin. In the last 60 years we have seen an explosion of growth and progress simply unparalleled by any other time in human history and it is all thanks to the invention and commercialization of the internet (and computers, of course). Being able to communicate with anyone from anywhere is a very powerful tool and you should use that to your advantage in the workplace.

Telecommuting only exists because of the internet. How else would you monitor whether someone was getting work done from home or even have them get their work to you? It’s almost magical, but it does come with its fair share of downsides also. Below I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of telecommuting and let you decide whether your company should allow it.

Pros:

  • Working from home is proven to increase employee morale
  • You can have a smaller office and yet have as many employees as a multinational corporation
  • Finding contractors is much easier
  • You can work with people from different countries (giving you access to different resources)
  • Crowdsourcing has become a powerful tool and telecommuting is the only way to do it.

More or less, all of these pros come down to you being able to cast a much bigger net in the employee pool. That perfect candidate might not be able to come to work because they’re five states away, but through telecommuting you can even get them doing overtime. Likewise you can crowdsource certain assignments to sites like Mechanical Turk if you don’t want to have to worry about getting a contractor and everything that goes with it. You can do more with less for cheaper, that’s the beauty of telecommuting. You can even conduct virtual interviews with your virtual workers.

Cons:

  • No in-person face-to-face communication
  • Group meetings are difficult to set up
  • Communication is mostly through email correspondence and that can get messy
  • Potential time zone differences
  • Regulating employees becomes difficult

Humans are visual creatures and seeing someone in person is much more effective than emailing someone. You wouldn’t send your condolences to someone through a text, would you? Of course not. You call if you can’t get over there and you leave a voicemail if they don’t pick up. Yes, you get to work with many more people than you normally would be able to find in your immediate vicinity but that kind of communication can get messy. If you have a very good filing system, most of these cons can disappear.

Do you think you can make telecommuting work for your business? Comment below!

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