Gas prices are on the rise, and for the next 6 or so months I don’t see a slow down. The reasons behind that are debated over and that is not the focus of this article. I am here to advocate for more telecommuting options in the workplace. Before you all get up in arms about the need for face to face interactions, I am not talking about a 100% solution here more so a 3-4 day work week. Most office professionals chit-chat for between one to three hours a day, and that is an observation of mine and by no means corroborated by any metrics. I think there needs to be a movement to partial remote work in the near future in an effort to increase productivity and avoid office distractions.
The personal computer is quite powerful and only getting better with every new year. For heaven’s sake, we can deliver PowerPoint presentations from our cell phones now! It makes no sense to me why salesmen and executives are the only people allowed to work remotely. The same systems that are in place to handle their remote needs can service the majority of the other workers in a company. For instance, most knowledge workers like programmers and the like don’t need to be in an office every day. The only conceivable reason for this would be to justify a manager’s role in the office. I would like to contend that an effective manager can “manage” remote workers as well as traditional in-office workers.
I personally have been working remotely for the past 9 years and I have been very successful in doing so, however I know that there are some problems with it. The main issue with telecommuting as a viable option is tracking the productivity of the workers. Well, in order to work remotely you have to have a very strict schedule and be able to stick to it. You also have to be in a deadline/goal oriented field, and with that you can measure the effectiveness of the individual. Productivity is really only a good argument when you don’t have a plan in place to measure productivity.
So, how do you save money? You save on office space for one, the estimated costs for an extra body in the office is reduced with each telecommuter. Fuel costs to the worker are greatly reduced making for a happier workforce, and those savings will be diverted to the economy. There are so many other costs that are reduced because of remote working and here is a short list: employee meals, car maintenance costs, childcare services, clothing and clothing and maintenance costs.
Take a little more time to think about the many factors behind telecommuting and try and work it into your company model. Or ask about it at work and try to get it added as an option. This is the prime time to make these types of changes and offload the rising costs of living.
Momolu Sancea is the owner of Vintage Coding, LLC in the Atlanta, AGA area