With the wonder of flexible work schedules, comes the increase in telecommuting for business. And as young adults start up their own businesses with flexibility in mind, we look at the aspects of telecommuting for startups. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider and you should know that telecommuting isn’t a viable option for every company.
Here is all you need to know about telecommuting for startup businesses.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting, in the simplest of terms, means working from home with the help of information technology. Many startup businesses start out in people’s homes. As the business grows, there may be an official office space setup to accommodate more employees and make it feel like a more professional venture.
But most people won’t complain about working from home and having the flexible work schedules that come with telecommuting. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting, especially for small businesses.
What are the advantages of telecommuting?
- Cost-effective growth opportunities: By allowing employees to work from home, you’ll be saving yourself money on office supplies, rent for an office space (if you’re able to use your home as a makeshift office for special occasions) and travelling to and from work every day (for you and your employees). Telecommuting allows for startups to grow exponentially without being overly expensive to do so. It also allows for you to scout for talent over a larger area as distance won’t have to be a turn-off for potential star employees.
- Employee retention: The flexibility telecommuting allows is also an attractive feature for employees that isn’t offered by many other companies. This means you’re also likely to retain your employees and easily attract new talent. This also reinforces the confidence employers have in their employees, which is always a great feeling for an employee to have. Not to mention, it shows that the company cares about their employees’ work and life balance.
- Increased productivity: Because of the care, trust, confidence and balance this flexibility brings employees, they’re more likely to be motivated to work hard and, therefore, be more productive during their chosen work hours. Telecommuting may also require an internal business software through which employee hours and tasks can be monitored, which will also keep them productive and accountable.
What are the disadvantages of telecommuting?
- Management difficulty: Getting to really know your employees and apply a management style according to their personalities and abilities becomes a difficult task through telecommuting. You don’t see them every day or even every week and you don’t know how they’re handling everything unless they choose to communicate that with you. Solutions would be to incorporate different forms of communication and include video conferences to simulate face-to-face conversation.
- Accountability: Now, we mentioned how telecommuting can make employees productive and accountable. But, accountability can also be a problem when employees start taking advantage of the flexibility of telecommuting. This is why performance and internal monitoring software is a necessity.
- Miscommunication: Another disadvantage of telecommuting is the frequent instances of miscommunication. Because it’s not as simple as popping over from one office desk to another, many things get lost in translation and that can cause many issues between employers and employees, as well as with the company and clients. It’s very important to implement strong and strict communication practices to make sure everyone is on the same and right page at all times.
How can you be successful through telecommuting in your business?
For startup businesses, telecommuting is an affordable way to invest in the human capital of their business while they’re still trying to grow. But not every type of business can pull off the telecommuting work-style. You first need to decide whether you’re in a telecommuting-compatible business before you can start driving success from it.
- Compatible job positions: Some jobs may be able to be done from a fully remote position, but others may require part-time or zero telecommuting ability. You, as business manager, need to look at how jobs can not only be done but also be more effective through telecommuting. And make those decisions accordingly.
- “Tele-suited” employees: It’s also not as simple as having a compatible job position. The employee who fills that role needs to be inclined in the department of information technology if they have a chance of being successful from a remote location. They need to know how to operate online and remain accountable and dedicated to work on their own.
- All the rules of telecommuting: If you want to be successful, you need to lay down all the rules of your telecommuting agreement. Are there requirements for time logging, dedicated workspaces, in-office appearances, cloud-based data storage processes, compulsory information technology courses or flexible schedules that need to be met? And how are you going to monitor these requirements?
Telecommuting can be an amazing asset for a startup business and might even be the edge that sets their business above the rest. You just need to implement and monitor it correctly.