National Teleworking Week… do you know where your employees are?

Today is the first annual National Teleworking Week.   It’s a week to celebrate breaking free from the confines of the cubicle — 7 days to give a shout-out to letting employees skip the daily commute in favor of a morning working in their pj’s.

You’ve come a long way, telecommuters.  A decade or so ago, about the only people who telecommuted in large numbers were medical transcriptionists  and envelope stuffers.  Now people managing entire departments and making multi-million dollar decisions are doing so from their kitchen table — or the comfy chair in their nearby coffee shop.  Fortune Magazine’s newest list of the 100 best companies to work for pointed out that almost all the companies on that list permit and encourage telework in some form.

Why telecommuting has taken off

Research studies show that telecommuters are by and large more productive, more loyal to their company and have less missed days of work than their office-occupying colleagues.   And they do so while saving their companies thousands of dollars in energy costs and reducing the amount of real estate companies need to maintain.

Are you ready to cut the seat-warming cord at your company?

If you’re considering telecommuting for your employees, there are a few things to you need to know about attendance and telecommuting employees:

  • Your written policies will need to be changed to reflect the new work location and arrangements.  Things like arrival time, lunch breaks and personal phone call rules will have to be adjusted to account for off-site work.  Not making these changes in writing could set you up for discrimination claims.
  • If you use paper time cards and a time clock to track arrival, breaks and departures, you will need to find another way to record work time for hourly employees.  You will also need a way to record allowable/excused absences, as well as unexcused absences.  A virtual employee attendance tracking tool like ours (Not selling here!  Just using it as an example! A really good example, to be a sure, but an example none-the-less) will allow you to record absences and other employee information whether or not the employee ever comes to the building.
  • Without “seat-warming” as a criterion for employee work quality, you’ll need to define how employee quality is measured.  But fear not! Most companies find that this forces them to focus on work quality, project completion and other good things, resulting in better and more effective work instead of just head counts.

This week, take some time to look around at your employees.  Who would benefit from working from home? Who could be more effective without the daily commute? And how could that help your company rise to new heights?

And besides, that empty cubicle they leave behind would make an awesome space for a new espresso machine, wouldn’t it?  Ah, the perks of teleworking just keep piling up!

Happy Valentines Day and Happy National Teleworking Week!

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