Telecommuting – A Great Perk or Resource Waster?

shoretel work from home

For many reasons working from a home office has become a popular solution for many businesses; large, small and everything in between. As an employee working for a smaller company that allows me the option to occasionally work from home.I appreciate the flexibility as I use these days to play catch-up or sometimes for additional training courses. Sitting on my couch learning about the latest and greatest in telecommunications beats a headset in my office any day!

Working from home for the majority of an employee’s time is a completely different ball game. Many companies have proven that this model can be very successful. It allows for presence in the form of sales and support (generally) across a large area, a great work-life balance benefit for employees and a cost savings for employers.

For the employee this means:
No Commute – I’m not sure about you but in Calgary this is a huge perk!
Write-Off’s – Business expenses can include everything from a portion of your home to ‘reasonable and customary costs’ as defined by the CRA.
Office Set-Up – Generally the company will supply a large portion of your actual office requirements including a computer, phone line and supplies.
Work-Life Balance – You are at home! As long as you choose to manage your hours and turn off distractions during the day this is a benefit and not a stress.

For the employer this means:
Less Requirement for Space – In Alberta the average office space vacancy rate is 12% while the industrial rate is 5%, there is not a lot of real-estate available and what is available is expensive and not always ideal.
Covering a Larger Area – Expanding your company’s presence without having to invest in office space and all of the required employees and equipment to run the office is a HUGE cost saver.
Employee Satisfaction – A happy employee is a productive employee, the flexibility of being able to tele-work is considered a great and tangible benefit for a large portion of today’s workforce.
Technology – The ability to be fully connected through Cloud Computing, IP Phone Systems such as the ShoreTel and have Video Conferences with products like LifeSizemake tele-working efficient and allow for employees to feel connected without being in the office together.

There is, of course, a need for caution in every situation. An employee becoming disengaged and unproductive is probably at the top of the ’risk list’ for both the employee and employer for obvious reasons. Technology can play a huge role in managing this concern through Instant Messaging, Video Chat and IP phones you have many tools to keep you engaged and in contact. Consequently Shoretel offers all of these solutions in one tool!

There is one other perk that we have not yet touched on, this is the environmental/ social conscious aspect of Tele-working. Stay tuned for my next post where I will delve into this. Until next time…