Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wired's Positive Take On Telecommuting

Wired (via LifeHacker) has some talking points that you can spew at your company to encourage telecommuting.  Not only are there inherent savings from having to maintain an office building.

The culprit is traditional thinking by the company's old guards.  The management is worried about productivity and, as Wired said, "the top fear among resisters is that they'll lose control of their employees, whom they doubtlessly envision frittering away the hours between 9 and 5 playing Minesweeper and munching Cheetos."

Well, here's some news flash, man (I'm talking to "the man" here).  You already have lost some of that control.  People don't work 14 hours straight.  They play a little, work a little, go to lunch, come back and play a little, and then back to work.  The thing is, so long as work feel like work, there is always an inherent barrier to fully realizing a worker's potential.

Of course, the thing here is happy worker bees.  With the purchasing power of the dollar (in the US I suppose), energy cost, and these are only factors impacting workers.  I'm sure companies are also faced with many expenses that has gone up over the years.  So, here are some points in support of telecommuting.

  • Study from Penn State concluded that workers who work from home has "favorable effects on perceived autonomy, work-family conflict, job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and stress." (Study )
  • ICE survey of Asian managers reports 81% believes telecommuting improves productivity. (Survey )
  • An UC Irvine professor believes interruptions at offices prevent workers from completing much.
  • Telecomuting can help increase likelihood of recruiting and retaining a shrinking pool of skilled workers.
  • Because of where an employee is located, the cost of living can be factored in.
  • Costs of VOIP (like Skype which is free), video conferencing, broadband connectivity, and computing technologies has gone down so much that for a company to help pay for these services allow them to save the thousands if not millions from having to own or lease office spaces.
And, I have a couple of suggestions for coffee houses and commercial property owners:

  • Create an office, a generic one, for companies to rent out for a few hours a day or even a day where employees can gather together to work.  I know it's mentioned somewhat in the article but it does not go in depth much.  
  • Create coffee house setting where mobile warriors can go work locally.  Walk.  Bike.  City communter bus.  Starbucks or Peets can rent additional spaces for people to work in, as long as need for the day.  Faxes, lighting, Wi-Fi connectivity, and all you can drink coffee.
So, let me know what you think.  We know it works.  We like to know how well telecommuting has worked for you or your company.  

Onxo would like to assemble some tips to help with telecommuters.  Any suggestions would be appreciated in light of these economic uncertainties.

Source:  Lifehacker , Wired (great articles and comments, must read)

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