A Telecommuting Guide For Businesses And Employees
Telecommuting has become a changing fundamental in the business world and with more and more people opting to work remotely, it is also now a much more common and accepted way of working. It is not just something that millennials choose to do but is a growing trend in every industry, especially now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As more and more people join this trend, companies are now coming to terms with just how beneficial such a work model can be. While many managers and company owners in the past thought giving their team the freedom to work from home would reduce productivity, telecommuting has opened up a whole new way of connecting with employees from all over the world. In fact, it has been a huge driver for transformation and collaboration and has paved a new path for companies and employees to connect better.
So, what is telecommuting?
Telecommuting basically means working from outside the office or remote working. You could be working from home, a cafe, a co-working space, or anywhere else, but this concept should not be confused with freelancing as telecommuting is a work agreement between a company and their employee. It is based on the idea that the employees “commute” through telephonic or virtual channels such as email, phone, video, and more.
- 77% of employees are more productive when they work remotely. (CoSo Cloud)
- 30% of employees who telecommute, save around $5,240 per year since they spend less on travel, food, etc. (CoSo Cloud)
- 74% of employees claim that if they had the choice to work remotely, it would be less likely for them to leave the company. (Owl Labs)
- Businesses can save around $11,000 per year for each half-time telecommuting employee. (Global Workplace Analytics)
- A survey based on participants from the UK, states that by 2036 traditional commuting wouldn’t be around. (The Guardian)
These statistics on telecommuting and remote working are compelling and show why such a type of working scheme is beneficial for the company and its employees. While some jobs are easier to transition into a remote working model, others that need face to face meetings, handling equipment, or require any kind of a physical presence aren’t as simple.
Telecommuting best works for companies in industries such as sales, marketing, IT, healthcare, administration, customer care, and training. In most companies, eligibility for telecommuting is evaluated as per each case to check whether the employee’s role can be shifted to a virtual environment based on their work, performance, job requirements, and more.
Creating a telecommuting policy
Making a telecommunicating policy for your company will help set the right expectations and allow you and the employee to understand what is needed from each. When working remotely, there is a higher chance of miscommunication and unclear expectations. This is where setting a policy in place can help you stay on track and manage your employees remotely without there being any delay in work or deadlines.
There aren’t any particular set of rules to use for each industry in their policy, but they should cover some basic topics. Ask yourself the below questions to find what is right to add to your policy as per the rules that best suit you.
- What is the approval and eligibility process to help you select which employees are the best fit for remote working?
- What is the flexibility of work you want to offer your employees who are telecommuting?
- Does there need to be a dedicated space or area radius that your remote employees need to be within?
- What is the best way to communicate for you and your telecommuting employees?
- What kind of equipment or technical help will you have to provide to people not working in the office?
Best tips for managing a remote team
Now that you have understood the benefits of telecommuting for every industry and how you can set up such a work process for your business, let’s talk about how you can efficiently manage a team remotely. Keeping a few simple tips in mind and investing in the correct software can help you by leaps and bounds.
- Cloud-based software
For any remote working situation to thrive, it is imperative that the company and all their employees are on the same page when it comes to tasks, projects, and files shared. Get rid of outdated techniques that required you to send edited versions back and forth, always getting lost in the mailbox. Instead, with cloud-based software, you will be able to access all your data and files online without having to store them on a single device. No matter where you or your employees are, everyone can use such a platform to share updated versions of your documents and files and stay in sync with work.
Cloud-based platforms such as Customer Relationship Management systems are a way to collaborate and complete work with as little confusion and task overlapping as possible. Investing in such a platform can greatly benefit companies who are open to telecommuting and want to make things much simpler for managers and their reps.
Not just sharing files and collaborating, a CRM can also help companies automate various tasks that take time to complete otherwise, freeing up reps to focus on other important work. It also provides a bird’s eye view of all the operations and processing going on, allowing managers to stay organised and on top of things.
- Constant communication
Just because you don’t work face to face in an office, doesn’t mean you can’t have constant communication with the people you work with. Make sure to set up timely scheduled calls with each of your employees as well as group calls to discuss how their work is going and if there are any areas they may need help with. Make sure to also encourage relationships between remote teammates so they can collaborate together and reduce task overlapping.
Be clear of what you want your team to achieve and set targets that are clear and understandable. Clear communication contributes to a better understanding of work and the tasks assigned and doesn’t leave any room for confusion.
- Trusting relationships
Nothing is more important than trust between a company and a remote employee. Without that, you will always be worried about whether they will be completing their task by the decided deadline or not. The team relies on each other to complete their part of the work to ensure the success of a product. Without trust, that can be a hindrance. Build trust with everyone you work with, at the office or remotely, to manage your team efficiently.
- Feedback and success
The easiest way to success is ensuring you are constantly measuring how your reps and employees are doing at their job. Constant feedback and open communication can help you and your team stay on the same page about achieving targets. With feedback and positive criticism, you can also help them better their closure rate or handle their projects in a more effective manner. Make sure to let your employees know when they do a good job and don’t shy away from celebrating their success.
Looking for a platform that can help your company shift to a cloud-based model and collaborate better with remote team members? Contact FIVE CRM and find out about the various benefits a well designed and scalable Customer Relationship Management system has to offer for your company.