Operator, Get My Telecommuters on the Line!

TelecommutingThe federal, state and local governments can pass laws restricting people’s behaviors or controlling automobile manufacturing in ways that they hope will reduce air pollution.

Those same agencies can spend billions of dollars on rapid transit and highway expansion projects hoping to reduce traffic congestion.

While these efforts may be well intended, we know that they have had somewhat limited success, especially in the area of reducing the backups on our highways.

However, at the same time an organic movement in society begins to take shape that has tremendous potential to reduce traffic and air pollution. Not one law was passed and no one’s taxes were raised.

I’m talking about telecommuting.

Improved family life

Telecommuting has many other benefits as well. It allows people to stay home and this can greatly ease all kinds of challenging family situations. It can make someone available to pick up children after school or be home when the cable guy finally shows up. Telecommuters can get the family dinner started and this results in less fast food consumption, better health and lower insurance premiums!

The way modern life has evolved, flexibility is a valuable attribute in a job and the flexibility that is offered by telecommuting can boost employee job satisfaction and company loyalty. It can help you keep talented people on board who might otherwise head out the door to sign on with the competition.

Reduced travel expenses

Further, if your business involves making calls to clients, having telecommuters located in various territories can make you much more efficient. Your reps can make more calls because they have less distance to travel. You also save in mileage reimbursements or wear and tear on a company car.

March 1-7 is Telecommuter Appreciation Week, which has been established by the American Telecommuting Association. It’s a good time to stop and reflect on our policies regarding telecommuting and make sure we are taking advantage of telecommuting as much as possible.

Take time to offer praise

It’s also a great time to check in with your telecommuters and make sure they still feel like they are part of the team. While telecommuters appreciate the flexibility, there can be some isolation as well. Bringing everyone together for a meal can give a boost to your entire team.

And on a daily basis, be sure that you are communicating sufficiently with anyone who telecommutes. You never want one of your distant employees to say, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about that?”

Keep the personal touch

With all the cheap and even free online conferencing that’s available today, you should be able to include your telecommuters in all the important meetings. Video chats can also be used to help maintain a certain “personal” connection to your telecommuters.

It’s an exciting time to be operating a business and the telecommuting phenomenon is one of the reasons why. Let’s not consider it just during the first week of March, let’s find ways leverage the advantages of telecommuting throughout the entire year.

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