Telecommuters productive?

Those of you with you find they are as productive as your in-house workers? Several of our employees would like to telecommute, but it seems like such a loss of control for bosses.


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  • It really depends on the individual employee. Some employees will find any excuse to not work - do the dishes, watch TV.... Others will work more hours than they woudl if they were in the office. You definitely do give up some control, but in many cases you get better work from your employees and have much happier employees.

  • Just be sure to give the telecommuters lots of onsite support.  And if telecommuters are given clear expectations and goals, don't worry about productivity.  It's the results that count, as with onsite people, not when its done, as long as workers are available during agreed-upon core hours.

    You can include in your telecommuting agreement that if certain productivity goals are not met, the telecommuting arrangement will be reconsidered.

  • I agree that much of it depends on who is asking for to telecommute--what is their track record as an employee?  You might want to consider a policy that states it's totally up the employer to decide who they will permit to telecommute and make that determination on a case by case basis--and telecommuter status can be "revoked" at any time.

    It would be tempting to have a blanket policy where only an employee who attains a certain performance rating be allowed to telecommute, but that doesn't take into account things like the nature ofthe employee's job--what if they have job responsibilities you don't think they could perform as well at home vs. in the office? 

    Also, how many individuals from the same "team" or work group would be allowed to telecommute at the same time? Will this affect team work and communication if multiple individuals are working remotely?  The rules might need to be different according to the department and nature of the work. Should telecommuters be required to work at least one day a week in the office for face-to-face meetings? There are a lot of variables to consider. 

    I'm not saying allowing telecommuting  is a bad idea--we have some employees that do it and it has worked well.  But you need to make sure you communicate your expectations and that the workplace isn't going to suffer as a result.  The employee should make the arrangement work for you. 

    And, while I do agree that results are what counts as bevhunt writes (vs. when the work is done), it's also nice to know when you can and cannot expect (in general) to be able to reach the employee who is telecommuting.


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