Homeworkers can provide a number of benefits to a business, but what are the negative impacts? Here is an overview of both the pros and cons.
Recent technological advances and the demand for a better balance between work and personal life have led many companies to adopt the principle of teleworking. This approach allows companies to restructure and become more flexible, especially when it comes to recruiting talent.
However, there are pros and cons to letting your staff spend a part, or even the whole week, in teleworking, some more obvious than others. This means, as a company, that it is important to understand the advantages and limitations of this style of work.
Why is teleworking so appealing to employees?
Generally, employees appreciate the fact that they do not move when they work at home. And while some teleworkers or freelancers advocate the maintenance of a semblance of professionalism by dressing as if they were going to the Office, others rejoice in being able to prepare presentations or receive calls in a dressing gown!
Many people consider that they work better alone and enjoy not having a boss constantly behind their backs, and of course, work at home can be extremely beneficial, not to mention the profitability for young parents or persons with a dependant, including an elderly parent.
But, what is the place of the employer in all this? Needless to say, there are pros and cons that you will have to take into account when your employees ask you to do telework.
The benefits of authorizing telework
While some companies already implement a telework policy, here are six reasons why this approach is worth considering:
You’ll improve your retention rates. Childcare is a huge consideration for working parents, and allowing them to work at home when needed, such as sick days and during school holidays, will earn you points on your competitors who do not offer no remote work for families.
Best work-life balance
Even if a staff member is not a parent, you will see that his motivation and commitment will be greatly improved, less ill and less stressed as a result of a better balance between work and private life, as well as trust you give to him by allowing him to work independently.
This will also allow you to retain key members of staff wanting to move to another part of the country, or even around the world. For example, if the spouse of a highly valued member of your staff gets an excellent job offer elsewhere, you will still be able to count on your employee by allowing him or her to work anywhere.
More extensive talent pool
Likewise, this will allow you to significantly expand your pool of candidates. Are you struggling to recruit the right person, because all the candidates are mediocre or inadequate? Get wider and perhaps you will discover that the ideal candidate lives at 200 km.
You will also propose job offers to prospective employees with disabilities or confined at home who prefer work at home.
Productivity is an important element for any employer and, depending on the integrity of the employee, you will find that it is still more than usual, because it is less interrupted by colleagues and its movements are limited.
The disadvantages of authorizing teleworking
Although there are a number of good reasons to justify teleworking, there are also some challenges to consider:
The number one concern of most managers or business managers is trust. How can you be sure that your teleworking staff remains motivated enough to work all day and not sneak up to the gym during working hours, or to take excessively long lunch breaks?
Potential security threats
You’ll also expose your business to potential security issues. Insecure networks, such as when using a coffee Internet connection, may compromise your data. A personal computer is not likely to have the same level of antivirus software or defense against malicious software attacks as your desktops. Similarly, smartphones with sensitive business information can easily be lost, just like physical files and documents.
Communicating could also become a problem because of the lack of physical interaction between employees. For example, a misunderstanding that could be solved by a quick discussion at the Office could become more complex when e-mails, voice calls or WhatsApp messages become the main form of communication.
Finally, employees who accept telework often have a more flexible schedule. This can cause problems when it comes to organizing meetings or conference calls, or when you need to talk to someone directly.
Accepting the benefits while overcoming the disadvantages
You can solve a number of problems by implementing procedures related to the management of teleworkers. One of the first things to do is to ensure that your business data is secure by ensuring that devices to be used remotely are protected by antivirus and antimalware software, including Smartphones. Transferring all your documents and files to the cloud to enable remote collaboration is also a good idea. As for your main asset, your employees, ask them to maintain constant contact with their Manager and their team. Likewise, ask them to go physically to the Office regularly and always be present for important meetings or presentations.