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Telecommuting – Good or Bad?

on October 30, 2019 No comments


Telecommuting has been around as a work concept for a while now. Some companies allow it, others have begun to pull their employees back into an office environment. I personally think it can work well, but the people who are hired as telecommuters really need the personality that fits this type of work. If you are a person who is easily distracted, and not goal oriented, then it could be a disaster for both your company and the employee.

This article in the American Psychological Association has a point of view you might find interesting:

“More than 26 million Americans—about 16% of the total workforce—now work remotely at least part of the time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2005 and 2015, the number of U.S. employees who telecommuted increased by 115%. Those workers tend to be older, more educated, full time and nonunion.

Telecommuting arrangements can vary greatly for different workers. They can be fully or partially remote; they may work from a home office, co-working space or other location; and increasingly they may be geographically distant from the organization or clients they serve.

And such remote work can benefit both employers and employees, experts say. Employers can hire geographically distributed talent and reduce overhead expenses, while employees can gain flexibility, save time, and reduce transportation and some child-care costs. But the impact of such arrangements on productivity, creativity and morale has been up for debate, primarily because working from home offers employees fewer opportunities to talk and network with their colleagues.

Now, to learn more about telecommuting and its implications for the future of work, psychologists are studying remote work’s benefits, drawbacks and best practices. A related line of research is also exploring how to maximize the effectiveness of geographically distributed teams that rely primarily on virtual means of communication. “Telework is here to stay,” says  industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologist Timothy Golden, PhD, professor and area coordinator of enterprise management and organization at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. “As researchers and managers practicing in the field, what we need to understand more fully is not if, but how, teleworking is best conducted to maximize work outputs.”

Small but tangible benefits

Many workers view telecommuting as a job perk, with more than half seeking the arrangement as a way to improve work-life balance. People choose to work remotely to avoid daily commutes, reduce workplace distractions and fulfill family care responsibilities (Owl Labs State of Remote Work, 2017). In other cases, an organization may require its employees to work from home, for instance, if a branch office is shut down.” to read the rest of the article, just click here

The article goes on to share the downside of telecommuting, like social isolation and the lack of bonding that would normally come along with working in an office. With applications that allow people to collaborate with each other, regardless of the geographical location, the issue of isolation could be minimized. I think a mix of both telecommuting and office work can sometimes be the best solution. For example, if you are programming a big, complicated new application, it might be easier NOT to be on campus all of the time There could be fewer interruptions and more quiet space to think and puzzle out complex scenarios.

I also think people who are night owls often function better in a telecommuting situation. They are naturally more productive when the sun goes down. And if some of those night owls happen to be caregivers, either for children, or parents, or even spouses, the time spent worrying about those they are caring for while at work is eliminated Although is it important to have some help during the allocated working hours.

Is your computer operation setup and ready to handle the workload from one or more remote workers? Do you have sufficient security and malware in place to protect your data in case of a breach? It’s important to have tools installed on your system to track the productivity of offsite workers, and it also is beneficial to have the right tools to handle remote group meetings seamlessly, without glitches.

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