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Telecommuting Today: What Can It Do for Your Business?

by Dave Moorman

In the 1990s, terms such as telecommuting and teleworking became popular descriptions for the pursuit of work outside the office—with the help of technology. (Telecommuting usually referred to work at home; telework sometimes referred to work at a satellite office.)  Today, those terms are being replaced by newer catchphrases like workshifting and the remote [or mobile] workplace.

In reality, all these terms describe essentially the same activity—getting work accomplished anywhere that is not your main place of business. However, the way employees view these activities—and their popularity—varies widely. In a future post, I’ll talk about more about the benefits of other remote workplace solutions. Today, I’d like to share the benefits to SMBs in supporting telecommuting (using the definition of staffers working from home).

According to a study of 67,000 workers, published in June 2012 in the Department of Labor’s Monthly Labor Review, approximately 30% of surveyed workers perform some form of telecommuting (full or part time). That’s approximately the same as in the 1980s.

What’s changed to the benefit of their employees is the amount of extra time they put in at home. In complete opposition to the notion that telecommuters goof off more, the study indicated that those who perform any work at home tend to work five to seven hours more per week than if they weren’t telecommuters. Furthermore, 71% of the telecommuters were managerial or professional employees, who generally aren’t paid overtime.

Here’s some more good news. Despite the extra hours they have to put in, employees want to be able to work from home. In WIRED magazine’s recent reader survey, 62% said the ability to work remotely was important—and their favorite environment, by far (84%) was home. The survey also found that nearly 50% of workers felt more productive and less stressed working remotely.

So, not only are your employees going to work more hours when you let them telecommute at least some of the time, half of them will get more work done than at the office. That’s a powerful incentive to expand your remote working program.

Here’s the kicker: Even if you allow telecommuting, you have to provide the right environment for all these great numbers to fall into place. In the WIRED survey, 45% of respondents said they were encumbered by unmet needs outside the office. The number one complaint (82%) was lack of a high-speed Internet connection to access corporate resources.

DynaSis can’t help you persuade the territorial manager hesitant to give up direct control of his staffers (a leading impediment to the practice, per sources cited in the DoL report). We can help you transition to a cloud-based mobile productivity solution that always gives your workers high-speed, remote access to corporate resources, wherever they are. Give me a call soon and let’s discuss how you can extract the latent productivity in telecommuting.

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