A lot of managers shut down the idea of teleworking pretty quickly when the subject comes up. While their concerns are often valid, these objections are often based on inaccurate beliefs. The problem is that there are a lot of benefits to be gained from telecommuting – and it’s a shame for organizations to lose out on those benefits because they don’t have all of the information in front of them.
These 5 myths about telecommuting are very common – but easily busted:
It’s all or nothing. For telecommuting programs to be effective, there is not much room for an all or nothing approach. Teleworking isn’t going to be for everyone and it’s likely not going to be 100% of the time. Some employees simply can’t work from home at all. Others are Try offering it to a few trustworthy employees for a couple of days per week to start with. Remember, your results will vary by department and even by employee.
No more collaboration. When Yahoo famously scrapped their telecommuting policies in 2013, then CEO Melissa Mayer cited one of the reasons as being because of the lack of insights that stem from hallway discussions, inability to meet new people and not having impromptu team meetings. Unless workers are at home 100% of the time (see myth #1), you don’t have to even give this a second thought. People are still in the office, still having those hallway conversations and impromptu meetings. Even when you do have a few employees who only work from home, you can still bring them into the office periodically and even while they’re out of the office, you can still collaborate extensively with the right tools.
Home-based employees slack off. Unless you are one of the rare managers who stands over your employees to watch them, this is something that can happen in or out of the office. Having employees work in the office to satisfy this concern merely provides the illusion of control. Employees are less likely to slack off when they have specific deadlines and expectations and when they are satisfied with their job. Furthermore, many telecommuters report less distractions at home. In fact, teleworkers are reportedly 55% more productive than their in-office colleagues.
The technology isn’t good enough. You might read something like this, but it is patently untrue. You have the technology to have private servers that remote employees can access securely. Modern phone systems allows users to plug in to the corporate phone structure with an app. Document management systems allow secure, web-based access and technology can even allow you to remotely access your desktop. The technology to make telecommuters effective is available – and it’s not prohibitive by any means. You need to work with a technology consultant who can translate your business’ specific needs into a technology plan and make sure that you have what you need to make your telecommuters effective.
It’s a security threat. This myth was largely propagated when in 2014, the US Post Office suspended telecommuting because of a security breach. The problem wasn’t teleworking in and of itself, the issue stemmed from having outdated, low-quality software. This is a problem for the entire organization, not merely telecommuters. There are a myriad of simple and cost-effective ways to make teleworking secure. Virtual private networks (VPNs) securely grant remote workers access to designated servers, for example. A secure cloud can also give you a variety of options for employees to get the job done effectively without incurring unnecessary risk.
Telecommuting isn’t right for all organizations – that’s a given. In order to evaluate whether or not it’s right for you, it’s important to step past these common road-block beliefs and evaluate the idea honestly. By remembering that it is secure, the technology exists to make employees productive and that some employees will thrive in that work environment, you can start to craft a telecommuting strategy that gives your company a competitive advantage.
Get all of the info you need about the benefits, what to consider and the technology you implement successful teleworking in your office. Download our free Guide to Teleworking!