As technology advances in many areas of business, there are different avenues to consider when looking for ways to maximize production resulting in higher profitability.
Telecommuting has become more popular throughout organizations as it allows businesses to broaden their employee hiring capabilities on a global reach, reduce overhead costs, and encourage productivity among existing employees. Employees are more motivated when they feel their company is considerate of their everyday life outside of the office. For example, if a stay at home parent can work out of the house and not worry about full time day care costs, they will feel more inclined to work harder and possibly for a longer period of time. For recruitment purposes, businesses that have one office can consider hiring people all around the world and expand their customer base by having sales staff and production teams locally to their customers. Having employees in different time zones allows productivity to continue all throughout the day and night.  If there are not as many employees in a specific facility, companies can consider downsizing their working space, equipment needs, and other real estate related costs including but not limited to:
·         Utilities – there will not be as high of a demand on electricity, water, and gas
·         Infrastructure – wiring and cabling, phones and computers
·         Maintenance – a smaller building will require less man hours and materials for cleaning
Another perk to telecommuting is during disasters, employees can continue their work if they have everything they need accessible to their home or remote work space.
There are a few caveats to telecommuting that should be considered before implementing this type of policy:
·        Hiring the right type of employee: Although you cannot micromanage staff that is working off site (unless you have a nanny cam), you want to make sure you permit responsible and professional staff to work remotely.
·        Expenses: An employee working off site will need equipment to connect to corporate and communicate with the outside world. It is important to determine if these items are employee purchased and expensed or company provided, paid and maintained. Depending on how you choose to proceed, keep in mind security issues, policies, and liabilities. 
·        Compensation and Benefits: Is the employee hourly or salary? Who is liable if there is an accident at a remote site?  
·        Team Work: When employees work remotely it may be difficult to engage with other team members or have group meetings. One thing to consider is setting up social media links such as a corporate Facebook or other chat room type settings. This can create a virtual “water cooler” where employees can chat about their work or discuss projects with coworkers and feel like they are part of a team. 
The decision to allow for telecommuting should not be taken lightly. A formal policy should be developed expressing the rules and potential penalties for non-compliance. It might also be a good idea to have a trial group of employees to see how things go. However business looking for that edge to attract motivated employees, should consider it.

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Leigh Merz

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