Benefits of Telecommuting: Managing Office Real Estate
At one time in the not-so-distant past, telecommuting was simply seen as a perk offered by innovative, forward-thinking companies desiring a carrot with which to lure the best people in their industries. It was an employee benefit, little more.
In recent years, companies have come to recognize the more direct benefits of telecommuting. Now companies want to hire telecommuters. Here’s why.
Cutting Back Real Estate Costs
Global Workplace Analytics, an international company that conducts research on flexible workspace management and consults with companies in North America and Europe, states that hiring telecommuters can save companies $10,000 per employee per year. This savings can be reinvested into the company or even into employee salaries, giving companies greater flexibility to hire the right employees for their needs.
Solving Space Disputes
No one likes being pushed out of his or her office. Unfortunately, successful companies that grow in size are often are faced with tough real estate decisions. In some cases, companies force employees to give up individual offices. This can feel like a slap in the face for employees who have worked hard to bolster the company and enable growth. By offering telecommuting as an option, companies don’t have to choose between expensive real estate upgrades and employee happiness.
Making Telecommuting Work
Unfortunately, there is a downside to telecommuting. The lack of open collaboration and professional relationship development that comes from telecommuting can cause a reduction in innovation for some companies. This is particularly true of companies where a large percentage of the workforce is telecommuting.
This is why many companies opt for a happy medium, allowing some employees to telecommute some of the time. This middle ground enables workers to collaborate with one another in face-to-face teams, while still giving employees the benefits of telecommuting on a part-time basis. This also allows for a rotating workforce in offices where space has become an issue. This type of compromise is what allows companies to hire acquire and retain talent seeking the benefits of telecommuting, while still cultivating a workforce of tight-knit, creative employees.
There are tricks to managing a staff of telecommuters that can maximize employee productivity while preventing the office culture from breaking down.
- Establish clear goals. Every employee–whether telecommuting or not–should have a clear set of goals and a metric for success. This allows managers to verify performance.
- Require employees to come in to the office a certain number of times per week. This will ensure that your employees actually meet face-to-face from time to time. If your office has real estate issues, and spaces are shared, keep a clear schedule so that employees will know when to come in to the office.
- Keep your technology on the cutting edge. Telecommuting is here to stay, and office technologies are constantly being updated and innovated to meet the needs of the companies that employ them. To stay in close contact with your employees, stay on top of all the latest teleconferencing, data sharing and chat technologies.
Employees who work from home can actually be more productive than employees who come to the office every workday. Telecommuting can improve employee satisfaction, giving employees extra motivation to work hard. In addition, because telecommuting can reduce time spent commuting, many employees blur the lines between the start of the workday and the end of the workday. Employees who are fully enabled to work from home often end up working from home at hours outside the normal workday. This is a benefit for both sides. Employees who telecommute enjoy the comfort of working from home, and companies that employ telecommuters may see higher profit margins and lower real estate costs.
What tools will help keep your telecommuters connected to the main office? Hyperspace has those answers. We can also help you reconfigure your office real estate for the future of your business.