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Some people have asked me numerous times why on Earth I resigned from my job in a company that was considered stable. I have to admit, quitting from a post that was considered steady and offered me some security did seem like a stupid thing to do, but then I had my reasons. One of the reasons was the fact that they did not have an option for telecommuting.
Now, people may argue that if I had a stable job and I was doing what I loved doing the most with that job (writing), why would I want to have the option to telecommute? Well, aside from the fact that I have two kids to take care of, I was also recuperating from a mild stroke (which left me debilitated for a couple of months) and was suffering from a lowered resistance to illnesses. Exposure to people with ailments (which is common enough in corporate environments) sees me with the same illness in a day or two due to this.
I was capable enough to do the work needed, and I could survive coming to the office with a cold or a cough, but it was slowly taking a toll on me. Since the company did not have an option for working from home when a person was sick but able to work, I weighed my options, found a telecommuting gig, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This brings to the forefront the question: Should companies allow employees to work from home whenever there is a legitimate reason for them to do so? If so, how often should they be allowed to telecommute? Is this kind of an option detrimental or beneficial for all parties involved?
There have been studies proving that having your workforce telecommute every now and then is a good thing. When an employee is given the chance to work-from-home whenever necessary, it shows that the company cares about what the employee feels and thinks. Such consideration makes an employee happy since it shows that the company is looking out for their welfare.
With this comes employee loyalty, and with employee loyalty comes a rise in skilled employee retention. This is good for the company in the long run since they get to keep employees that are well trained from leaving their employ and, in the process, reduces costs by reducing the number of people they need to train to replace workers that leave.
Productivity is also improved with telecommuting. People who work from home often find that they can manage their time better, and are more at ease without having people looking over their shoulder at their work all the time. They are more relaxed too, which in turn translates to better work quality due to the absence of other stressors.
Also worth noting is the lowered costs for both the worker and the company. Telecommuting reduces commuting costs for workers, and lowers real estate as well as operational costs for employers. In short, having employees working from home is beneficial for both sides in so many ways.
While having remote workers may be a good move for some companies, not all businesses can benefit from such a setup. For you to determine whether or not your company can indeed get an advantage from this kind of a work situation, you first have to think if the work involved can be effectively done from home and if you have the kind of workers who are able to do the work with minimal supervision. You should also ask yourself whether or not a part-time or full-time work-from-home situation is viable for the business.
There are a few other questions that need to be asked before you can make a case for asking your company to try a work-from-home setup, but that I will reserve for another post. Suffice to say, working from home is a good option to have when you have highly productive and reliable employees who need the break from the daily grind of the corporate world, or when they can work while recuperating from a minor ailment.