There’s a hot business trend that’s become even MORE popular with the rising gas prices: telecommuting. Whether you call it “working from home,” or your “virtual office,” the idea is the same: Your network is configured to give you and your staff the ability to work from some location other than the office.While most business owners and managers pulling 60+ hour work -weeks love the idea, they often fear that employees working from home won’t be as productive, or won’t take their job seriously, but this fear is on the decline. The International Telework Association & Council (ITAC, www.telecommute.org) reports that the number of workers who telecommute at least once a week has topped 23 million and is continuing to grow.While telecommuting will not work in every situation, there is no doubt that technology has made working from home extremely practical whether a few times a month or every week.
Offering Work From Home Options Makes Your Company More CompetitiveAs a matter of fact, offering work-from-home options can give you a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best employees:
• Employees who are sick can continue to work without infecting the office or losing an entire work day.• Employees forced to stay home to take care of sick family members can continue to work instead of taking off long periods.• Inclement weather or heavily congested traffic won’t shut down your office.• Key managers with a heavy workload will actually be more productive if given the ability to work from home on evenings and weekends.• Allowing employees flexibility during peak workloads (e.g. CPAs during tax season) makes employees happier to put in the extra hours from a home office.• Employees with temporary or permanent disabilities can continue to be fully functional in a home environment.Telecommuting Improves Employee Productivity And RetentionITAC reports that enabling key employees the ability to work from home actually increases their productivity, leads to fewer sick days, and a better work/life balance which in turn, reduces turnover. After all, an employee who is given the benefit of working from home will often pass up higher paying job offers that will require them to be in an office 40 hours a week. For the business, telecommuting saves on rent and utilities and can help avoid the heavy expense of renting additional office space or moving to larger locations.Most business owners will test a “work from home” program by only giving themselves and a few key managers the ability to work from home. Often, this is for after-hours access. Once the technology is set up and tested, a few additional key staff can be permitted to work from home on special occasions, while traveling, sick, or otherwise unable to come in. FREE:The Ultimate Small Business Owners Guide To Setting Up A ‘Work From Home’ Program Or Remote Network AccessIf you are thinking about investing in the technology to allow your staff to work from home or a remote location—DON’T—at least not until you read this informative new report.
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