Isaac Asimov once said, “The only constant is change.” This is not only true in life, but in business as well. One trend that has changed recently is the popularity of telecommuting. While many people have differing opinions regarding this, it has not been around long enough, on a big enough scale, to see its true impact on business. Some of the common question business owners ask themselves when deciding if allowing employees to telecommute are, “Will it make the employees more productive, happier, lonelier, disconnected, or more connected? Will telecommuting negatively or positively affect the company culture?” It’s a tough decision, and like most tough decisions, there isn’t one answer that works for everyone.
This study shows there could be wonderful benefits to telecommuting. Below we’ve laid out some pros and cons:
- As people aren’t wasting time and money commuting they often work longer hours.
- Telecommuting employees are generally less stressed.
- Employees can take advantage of their most productive hours, even if that is the middle of the night, and can adapt their working hours to their lifestyle.
- Telecommuting is great for those who do not thrive in the typical structured nine-to-five work environment.
- Telecommuting encourages self-reliance and problem solving, and develops time management skills.
- Telecommuting allows employers to hire highly skilled people.
- Telecommuting can save the employee and employer money.
Cons – the flip side
- Telecommuting can lead to burnout and resentment of the company if they work too much.
- Telecommuters often complain of being isolated and feeling lonely or depressed from lack of socialization.
- Telecommuting can cause a reduction in motivation, as there is not a physical tie to the rest of the team.
- Telecommuting can lead to a break down in communication due to distance.
- Telecommuting can require a more time than usual to put together a home office.
At the end of the day, successful telecommuting takes strong time management skills from the employee, strong communication lines between the manager and the employees, and lastly managers must have a strong understanding of the responsibilities of their employees and the time it takes them to complete the tasks. As we move deeper into this technological age, we see that people enjoy independent working more and more. So will telecommuting be the future of business or is it just a trend? What do you think?