Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Allow Telecommuting or Not?

A lot of office places are grappling with the pros and cons of allowing their employees to telecommute. In this age where cost-cutting is a premium, minimizing used office space and allowing employees the flexibility of working from home seems to be growing in popularity. But with it comes pitfalls such as chance of lost productivity, a lack of oversight, and decreased amount of teamwork and camaraderie, among other negatives.

FINS has the 5 worst and best things about telecommuting from an employees side. The last negative is one to warn employees about if the option is given to them: "It could totally backfire. We hope it doesn't, really, but it's hard to know how you'll do working at home until you make a real commitment to it. Spending all day at home could leave you feeling cooped up, it can create tensions in your family life, especially if there's not a well-thought-out system in place, and you could find yourself really overwhelmed, or really bored."

If you allow co-workers to work remotely and issue them a smartphone, beware of the legal implications of overtime having to be issued to those workers as Workforce Management writes. The article cites one case from the Chicago Police Department but warns that it is "one of a handful nationwide in which employees have claimed overtime pay for smart-phone use—and apparently the first involving public employees. But lawyers say such cases are a clear warning to employers to put a smart-phone usage policy in place before they end up in potentially costly litigation."

And lastly, if you plan to have your employees work in the office or out of it, has some tips for successful meetings (H/T Wendy). Warding off the "meeting vampires" is the key to making sure that meetings are effective and efficient.

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