What is Telecommuting? [Tips, Benefits, and Drawbacks]


Ruchi Gohri
By Ruchi Gohri | May 2, 2020 1:00 pm  | 5-min read
Everything You Need to Know About Telecommuting - Appy Pie

Telecommuting is a process in which employees work from a remote location. These remote locations include employees’ home or places close to their home such as libraries, coffee shops, or other co-working spaces. Some of these employees telecommute full time, while others telecommute for certain days per week or on some special occasions, for example, health issues, pregnancy, etc.
Everything You Need to Know About Telecommuting - Appy Pie
This process of working remotely is becoming more and more popular recently as in many job roles, most daily activities are done using online tools and resources. Telecommuters work from outside the office and connect with their coworkers using online platforms whenever required. Various industries offer telecommuting opportunities such as healthcare, customer service, education and training, administration, sales and marketing, etc.

Find a few examples of telecommuting jobs below-

  • Graphic designers
  • Web developers
  • Content writers
  • Account managers
  • Accountants
  • Social media specialists

Despite the growing popularity of telecommuting opportunities offered by employers, work-from-home is not an option for every type of job. Many job roles need physical presence – for example, welcoming guests, counseling, or meeting with customers. People who work as Security Guards, Sales Associates, Office Managers, etc. are also not able to telecommute.

Types of Telecommuting

There are many jobs that can be done from outside the office. They have been divided into three categories based on their business requirements.

  1. Virtual job
  2. These types of jobs give their employees full location flexibility. These employees have no obligation to work from the employer’s office. Companies that offer this position don’t usually have physical offices. Still, their employees need to work from a specific area for the company’s regulatory needs and taxes.

  3. Remote work
  4. Employees working from remote locations work from places other than the employer’s office such as a park, coffee shop, library, or any other private premises. These employees travel to their offices for occasional meetings.

  5. Work-from-home job
  6. These types of jobs need their employees to be available during standard business hours. These employers may or may not need you to have a home office. Most of these companies evaluate how their employees provide results and meet deadlines rather than try to manage how they utilize their time.

Most companies don’t offer telecommuting options at first, they keep track of their employees’ performance and might allow them to telework if they maintain strong performance.
Everything You Need to Know About Telecommuting - Appy Pie

Benefits of Telecommuting

Both employees and employers lay down the telecommuting rules and then get maximum benefits from the arrangement. Here are a few advantages of telecommuting.

For Employers

  • Increased Productivity
  • Additional Working Hours
  • Reduced Office Requirements
  • Improved Rate of Employee Retention
  • Continuity of Initiated Programs
  • Wider Pool of Talent
  • Improved Trust among Employees

For Employees

  • Increased Level of Flexibility
  • Maximizing Your Time
  • Balanced work-life
  • Stress-free environment to work
  • A greater sense of control over the work
  • Improved Quality of work
  • No distraction

Working from home makes employees more productive which is beneficial for both employers and employees. The flexible work options once embraced, make life better for everyone.

Potential Drawbacks of Telecommuting

If you are planning to implement a telecommuting program in your organization, make a note of these possible pitfalls, and seek ideas to overcome them.

  • Hard to monitor the quality of work
  • Lack of brainstorming ability
  • Security concerns
  • Chance of production loss
  • Lack of communication with the team

Telecommuting surely comes with a few drawbacks, but if you create an effective telecommuting policy, you can easily overcome these disadvantages.

Now that you know the types, benefits, and drawbacks of telecommuting, let us go ahead and learn how to create an ideal telecommuting policy. This program helps you lay down some formal boundaries for your business and your employees.

How to Create a Telecommuting Program

Telecommuting doesn’t have any set of parameters that fit for every business. We have listed and explained the important parameters that you can adjust as per your business requirement.

Everything You Need to Know About Telecommuting - Appy Pie

  1. Flexibility
  2. If you include this parameter in your policy, you need to mention the number of days an employee should be allowed to telecommute, if not full-time. Also mention the factors this flexibility depends upon.

  3. Equipment and Cybersecurity
  4. Do not forget to mention in your policy if you are willing to provide your employees with office equipment to telecommute. Also, if you need to set passwords to keep your corporate data and information safe.

  5. Eligibility and Approval
  6. Check if you need any specific work ethics or an approval process to be implemented for your employees to be able to telecommute.

  7. Dependent Care
  8. Telecommuting is not a substitute for any kind of employee’s family members. Whether it’s a dog or someone sick in the family, you make an exception, but employees must design a schedule for dedicated work.

  9. Workspace and Location
  10. Make sure you mention in your policy the location from where you want your employees to work. The location should be safe and secure. Or if you want your employees to stay in any specific radius or if the location needs to be limited by country or state.

  11. Strong Communication
  12. Employees even when telecommuting, should stay in contact with the employer. You can set them up for the regular check-in for calls.

  13. Create Clear Guidelines
  14. Make sure the program includes all the roles and responsibilities of the employees. What all the telecommuting program allows and what all doesn’t fit in.

Allow your candidates make a case as per their requirements or the reason for requesting telecommuting and provide them the requested approvals. In any case, just make sure they stick to the rules and complete their assigned tasks. Let us discuss a few tips that you can provide your employees to make things easier to handle.

Key Practices to make Telecommuting Work

Telecommuting is challenging for many people. Go through these tips to make it easier for you and your employees to work remotely.

  • Establish a Routine
  • Assign a schedule and create a work structure for your employees and make sure they stick to it. Even if they are not working in any fixed shifts, it’s helpful to set aside hours that are work-free and that are reserved for work.

  • Communicate with the Team
  • Communication is the key, when your team is working from home. You and your employees need to be on the same page, all the times. This is critical for small businesses, because of their ever-changing requirements. Make sure you begin your day with a quick conversation so that the priorities for the day are clear and there would be no chance of miscommunication.

  • Don’t be a Stranger
  • Do not try to micromanage the employees. Try to be supportive, track their progress, and keep them in loop. Conduct a weekly one-to-one session with them. A quarterly meeting will also work.

  • Set the Right Expectations
  • Working from home is always different from working from office. Setting up the expectations right is an important practice for both, employer and employee. It is critical that you set the right expectations and convey clearly to your team.

  • Create a Feedback Culture
  • There is a possibility you completely forget about giving feedback to your employees when working remotely. It is an essential part of coaching. Give your team feedback for negative prospects but do not forget the positive ones. Create a great feedback culture for your employees, involve the entire team, appreciate and celebrate success, and if they do a great job, let them know!

Apart from managing the whole team and your own 9 hours of scheduled work, you will get plenty of time. This could be a great time to add more skills to your work profile. Utilize your time and find a new skill that you can develop staying at home. Visit Appy Pie Academy and enroll yourself for any of the brilliant courses and that too for free!

Conclusion

A wisely implemented telecommuting program can get you numerous benefits. Keep an eye towards removing the potential pitfalls when you plan out the telecommute program.

While setting up a telecommute program, try to figure out what works the best for you and your workforce. Start from a lesser number of employees, measure productivity, and then rollout the larger structure if everything goes well.

You can use Appy Pie’s App Builder to create an app for internal communication purposes and ensure that your employees stay invested in their collective goals. The apps built using this no-code platform are secure and designed to add productivity to your business.

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Ruchi Gohri
About The Author

Ruchi Gohri, content writer at Appy Pie, has penchant for writing. With over 4 years of experience, she plays around with words elegantly, crafting simple content for all to read. In her free time, she loves her couch either to read or catch on her sleep.

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