Telecommuting advantages may just be a matter of clever management. Although some managers worry that telecommuters will abuse their privileges, telecommuting advantages often outweigh the drawbacks. The secret to successful telecommuting lies in management.
Tips for managing telecommuters
• Choose the right person. Not everyone works well in a home office. Make sure your telecommuter is self-motivated, responsible and diligent.
• Agree on a trial period. You can always back out if it isn’t working.
• Work out a phone or email policy. Telecommuters may opt for non-standard schedules that fit their time zones, childcare duties or other activities. Make sure you agree on core hours, so that you and other employees can reach the telecommuter during guaranteed times.
• Find a way to manage work status. Determine how you’ll track and review performance. If you rely solely on email to keep employees in the loop, the deluge of messages may be too much to manage. Use regular phone calls or video conferences to monitor work status and goal progression. Even a weekly email that covers work status can help you keep track of what an employee’s doing.
• Focus on productivity. A telecommuter can often accomplish more in a short period than someone surrounded by office distractions. Moreover, you won’t have many options for tracking their work hours anyway.
• Aim for occasional facetime. It helps with team building and even productivity.
• Pay for a separate phone line. If the telecommuter quits, you can make sure calls are rerouted to your office, not the employee’s home.