Managing Telecommuters

  • Share
  • Read Later

By now, everyone’s heard about Marissa Mayer’s edict banning telecommuting at Yahoo, but for the right person in the right position, telecommuting still makes sense.

Studies have shown that telecommuters tend to be more productive. They spend most of the time they used to spend commuting working. Telecommuting can save on relocation and office costs, and it can help you get – and keep – the right person for the job. It cuts down on sick days. As someone who’s telecommuted for nearly 13 years and managed other telecommuters, I can vouch for all those benefits.

So if you want to offer your employees the option of telecommuting, even if it’s just one day a week or occasionally, how can you do it right?

For starters, the job and the employee have to be right for telecommuting – and only you can make that call. Employees must meet performance standards to be considered, including the ability to work independently and productively with a high degree of accountability. Make it a perk to be earned – and reserve the right to revoke it, with at least a week’s notice, if it doesn’t work out. Any employee who really wants this benefit will impress you with their work ethic when they get it.

Set a policy for the expenses you’re willing to reimburse, such as broadband internet and phone service.

If children are present in the place where a worker telecommutes, another individual must be present to provide care.

Make sure you have some kind of service for conference calling, screen sharing and video for meetings. There are a number of low-cost and even free options.

This is something you should be doing for all employees, but make sure that corporate data is protected, particularly on laptops and mobile devices. My laptop is encrypted.

Adapted from Nine ‘Best Practices’ For Telecommuting by Dennis McCafferty at CIO Insight.