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Telecommuting can give productivity a bump, but collaboration and face-to-face time can be a concern

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently announced that Yahoo employees working remotely from home will be required to start working in the office by June.  Mayer cites the need to focus on teamwork and collaboration and she feels this can best be accomplished by physically working side-by-side in an office environment.

Yahoo’s recent announcement has caused some companies that allow their employees to work from home to review their policies.  If you allow employees to work from home or are considering implementing a new policy, you should consider the following advantages and disadvantages of a telecommuting workforce.

Advantages: Productivity and job satisfaction

Several studies have shown that employees working from home are more productive than those working  in an office environment because they face fewer distractions.

Studies have also shown that employees that work from home tend to work longer hours than office based employees.

Employees also tend to shown slightly increased job satisfaction and better work-life balance.

Disadvantages: Problems in team-centered offices

Managers in various studies agree with the advantages,  but many still prefer to see the employees in the office “just to be sure.”

Team-centered cultures show increased benefits of face-to-face contact and collaboration.

Remote workers also tend to miss out on promotions, often due to the lack of manager observation, even when the same manager recognizes the remote worker’s increase in production.

Several companies are experiencing success with combination schedules where employees are splitting time in the office (for team meetings, assignments, etc.) and working from home for a set number of days per week.

Weigh risks and rewards for telecommuting

The work culture is changing, and telecommuting can be a tool your company can use to its advantages long as all parties know the potential risks and rewards.  A best practice is to outline clear objectives for both parties, host frequent collaboration events and review the program regularly where employer and employee share progress toward the outlined goals.

If you need help with this topic or other employment matters, contact BCN Services at 1-800-891-9911 or contact us here.

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