Telecommuting – The New Employee Benefit


Telecommuting, the practice of working from home or other remote locations, has been gaining ground for years, and a recent survey has indicated that telecommuting can be a big draw for job candidates.

According to a recent telecommuting survey conducted by Staples, 71 percent of employees feel telecommuting is an important benefit when considering employment with a new company and that 10 percent would take a reduction in pay in order to have the option to telecommute.

Something else to consider is the potential benefit for both employer and employee. That same Staples study cited reduced stress, less absenteeism and happier employees as a major benefit of telecommuting. Of course, there also are challenges for employers to overcome; however, those employers who are willing to work through all the details involved with allowing employees to telecommute are more likely to reap the rewards associated with it.

Before an employer starts a telecommuting program, here are a few issues that should be addressed:
Is the job suitable for telecommuting? Not all positions will be appropriate for telecommuting. While computer programmers may be able to work effectively from home, a car salesperson probably cannot.

Who is eligible for telecommuting? Not all employees will be able to adapt
to the requirements of an off-site work arrangement. Good telecommuting candidates are usually highly productive, well organized, and have good communication skills.

What are the expected work hours? Most jobs will require some level of accountability during certain times of the day or days of the week. Therefore, you should establish the expected work hours prior to the telecommuting arrangement.

What do you expect from your telecommuting employees? Before allowing an employee to telecommute, it is important to communicate to them what your performance expectations are and to have a good definition of what output is expected.

For information about telecommuting programs in the workplace, contact the Association’s Legal Services Division at 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660