This global pandemic has changed how businesses everywhere do what they do. If you run your own business, you will be well aware of a huge number of these changes, and you will know just how much things look set to continue to change in the near future.
One of the major things that businesses everywhere have started doing is telecommuting. Whether or not you have taken this on board already, it is worth looking into in some detail, to try and get a better and fuller sense of how it works and how it can benefit you.
What Is Telecommuting?
In simple terms, telecommuting just means that the employee has an agreement with their employer which enables them to work outside of the office. That might be a part-time basis, with some in-house work being necessary, or it might be entirely remote.
Of course, during this pandemic it has been common for many people to work from home entirely, but in some cases this might be balanced out with some working in the office for some of the time as well. There is no right or wrong way as such, just different uses and different ways of doing things.
Generally, when you are telecommuting, you are working outside of the business’ premises, and using a variety of technology to be able to communicate with the other people in the business, the clients and customers, business partners and whoever else you might need to communicate with.
Such a position might work well in a wide variety of industries, and more and more of these are opening up to this possibility as time goes on, especially during the covid-19 pandemic. Thus, it looks as though it’s something that many people will start to do in the near future, even if they don’t already.
How Does It Work?
You might well be wondering exactly how telecommuting works, and what you can expect of it. The main point to take home here is that it relies heavily upon the technology being used in order to ensure that everyone in the business can stay in close contact with each other.
Such technologies might include the telephone, online chat, email, mobile messaging, video meeting platforms, and SIP Trunking. Therefore, the quality of the situation and the work is dependent upon the quality of the technology, and it is always going to be necessary to ensure that it is the best possible.
The Advantages To Telecommuting
There are many great advantages to telecommuting, which is why so many companies do use it routinely anyway. Understanding these benefits can help us to appreciate why it might be such a popular solution during the pandemic too, so it’s something that is absolutely worth looking into.
Let’s take a look now at some of the major advantages to telecommuting at any time, whether you are thinking about operating a business during Covid or at any other time. The following advantages apply to any business using telecommuting for whatever purpose.
Many of the overheads that you can expect to have will be significantly reduced if a large number of your staff are working from home. Having employees in an office can be costly, as you are constantly having to provide them with all of the essentials.
Food, water, heat, light and other costs combine to make a surprisingly expensive situation, and there is no doubt that you are going to save money as a business if you allow at least some of your workforce to work from home. Saving costs always helps to tighten up your business.
Better Job Satisfaction
If you do trial it out and see what your people think, you will generally find that most employees are very happy to work from home. Telecommuting does tend to be associated with considerably higher levels of job satisfaction, as people often feel more comfortable working from home and more able to do their job well.
With a higher job satisfaction comes the likelihood that you will retain your staff, which is especially important when you are facing any kind of uncertainty as a business. Increased retention and company loyalty are absolutely always worth aiming for in this way.
It used to be that employers would worry about people working from home not doing much with their time. There seemed to be this belief that working remotely led automatically to a decline in workload and productivity, and that you would eventually have to call people back into the office to finish off their work anyway. But as telecommuting has been tried again and again, this fear has proved to be groundless.
Actually, the opposite is the case; people being allowed to work wherever they like greatly increases productivity, and that is of course very good news for your business.
When you have a high sickness rate in the office, it is one of those things that can have an alarming effect on your business’ overall productivity. We have all seen it happen: something goes around the office, and one by one people start to call in their absence, and leave you for a week or two with only a skeleton staff.
But when everyone is working remotely via telecommuting, there is much less opportunity for those sicknesses to spread, and therefore you don’t have to worry about having such downtime. This is arguably one of the most convincing arguments for telecommuting that there are.
Employees Save Money
Those who work remotely will generally save money too, as they don’t have to think about paying out for many of the costs that are commonly associated with going to the office.
That includes transportation costs, and sometimes the cost of buying lunch if they have not brought something from home. This is something that will keep your employees very happy about this arrangement and will improve their job satisfaction too, as they are effectively in a better financial position from the job.
Finally, the main benefit to the employee is that they have the freedom and luxury to have the most flexible schedule they desire. No matter what hours they want to work, they can pretty much follow any schedule they like, and they should still be able to make it work.
The only important thing for the business is that they are fulfilling the work that they need to do, so that is something that you are going to have to make use of by checking in on them every now and then. But in general, greater flexibility is going to be attractive to most people.
Benefits During A Pandemic
You might already be able to see how many of these benefits are also applicable during a pandemic. But the most important one is that you will be keeping all of your employees – and yourself – safe and out of the way of each other. That means you won’t be adding to the spread of the virus, and you can ensure that everyone is going to be as safe as possible.
Another benefit of using telecommuting during a pandemic is that everyone can retain their jobs, and your business can continue to operate as you need it to. In truth, it ensures that everyone can carry on more or less as normal – and that industry itself can continue to churn, helping to ensure that there is still a world to return to after this is all over.
Making Telecommuting Work
So there are many benefits to both employer and employee of the use of telecommuting. But how can you make it work? What technology do you need to use in order to ensure it goes to plan, and that your business and the employee get the most out of it?
One of the main pieces of technology is the computer everyone needs to have. You could consider providing a company machine if necessary, for those who don’t have one. That also has the advantage of you being able to keep tracks on their work. Using video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom or Google Meet is also invaluable during this time.
You should also consider using phone systems that can be used in the office and out of it. With SIP trunking in particular, you can connect phone calls virtually, thus saving the need of a phone system in everyone’s home. That can help you to communicate more effectively across the company, and ensure that work gets done as and when it needs to. These Sip trunking features provide a seamless work experience.
On top of all that, you should look into the use of simpler, more everyday technologies which are nonetheless invaluable during this time: such as email and whatsapp messaging. The proper use of such technology is arguably one of the most important things you have on your side during a pandemic.
As you can see, telecommuting is vital to survival for any business during this pandemic. Make sure you are prepared and that you know what to do for the second wave.