How Telecommuting Can Contribute to Higher Productivity

When Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting for her employees in March, that step initiated extensive comments and heated debates in the InterWebs (*) regarding the merits of businesses permitting their employees to work from home.

Obviously, telecommuting has the potential to enhance the productivity of any organization’s employees. Further, the more prevalent telecommuting becomes, the more business entities will adopt and adapt technology in order to allow working from home even more useful. Merely employing the technology and allowing employees to telecommute will not cause an enterprise to become noticeably more productive. Rather, use of telecommuting to manage your teams can assure that the team members remain up to date, even though they are not in the office.

No-one will deny that happier employees are more effective than those who are not. Typically, folks who deal with grinding commutes every day are less happy than co-workers with easier commutes. Further, employees who deal with a grinding commute often interact less with their coworkers than do employees with easier commutes. Some studies seem to confirm that whether the telecommuting arrangement is permanent or just a weekly flex day, the lessened travel and stress can create a measurable boost in employee morale.

This is true in both large and small markets, because the best talent isn’t always within driving distance. This is certainly affected by the scope of the position, but many businesses that do not require day-to-day physical access to a shared office can benefit by finding the best candidate regardless of physical location. Telecommuting lets companies choose from a much larger talent pool when recruiting for open positions.

Those who worked remotely know that workers can accomplish more when the surroundings are right. Worksite distractions often contribute to noticeably less productivity. Certainly, camaraderie among employees is important, but there isn’t much that can be accomplished while occupying a meeting room that cannot be accomplished while using collaboration tools.

Trying to get teams physically together in the same place at the same time isn’t necessarily easier because everyone comes to an office. The technology that companies adopt to enable telecommuting allows companies to collaborate in real time from anywhere that team members are. Teleconferencing, web conferencing and of course Telepresence all can be accessed from just about anywhere. So when people can’t be in the same place the meeting will still go on.

(*) The term Interweb, a combination of the words Internet and Web, is most often used in the context of joking or sarcasm, especially when talking about or to a person who is not familiar with online terminology. It can also be used as an euphemism for the vast information that is available on the Web, or in a parody of someone’s knowledge of or experience with Web culture.


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