There has been a big push in recent years for employees of small to medium businesses to telecommute. The growing power of technological resources has enabled this movement toward a more mobile workforce. Cloud implementation of many software applications, and the effectiveness of internet based communications like Skype, have helped spur the adoption of telecommuting. Three key trends in telecommuting are core time mandates, the green movement, and speciality focused recruiting.
Core Time Mandates
As companies discovered the benefits of telecommuting, they encouraged more and more employees to work from home. Over time, employees and managers realized that the lack of face to face interaction presented its own problems – a disconnect with the corporate culture on the part of the telecommuter, for instance. Connecting with co-workers in person enables the development of more productive working relationships that are more difficult to foster electronically. To balance the benefits of working in the office with those of telecommuting, companies are promulgating “core time mandates” which require the telecommuting employee to work from the office for a set period of time. This may be one day a week, or a possibly a week each quarter.
In the current global environment, more people are concerned about humanity’s dependance on fossil fuels and the detrimental effect this is having on the environment. Telecommuting is proving to be an area many companies can easily use to promote their concern for the environment. Employees reduce emissions by not having to drive to and from the office. The company consumes less electricity while maintaining high productivity. Teleconferencing is becoming much more common, which reduces travel expenses and thus the company’s carbon footprint. Highlighting these advantages of telecommuting is something more and more companies are using to create positive brand recognition.
Specialty Focused Recruiting
Companies are finding they can be more selective in their hiring when they allow employees to telecommute. A company in Iowa does not have to settle for the best candidate available locally when someone with the entire skill-set a position calls for is available in Seattle. The person in Seattle may not be willing to relocate but is more than happy to join the company when they are able to telecommute. This ability to leverage talent from greater distances is enabling companies to increase productivity while keeping payroll and staffing requirements in balance.
Telecommuting has brought about a new way for businesses to leverage their workforce. As more and more companies are adopting the practice new challenges and opportunities will present themselves. Harnessing the potential and mitigating the pitfalls of telecommuting will continue to be a major focus or companies and employees alike.
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