Telecommuting: The Future of the Global Workforce

earthMore and more companies in the U.S. and around the globe are saving money and boosting productivity through having employees telecommute a few days a week. At first, this movement seemed like a cool work-trend that instilled envy in nine-to-fivers chained to their desks. However, new data suggests that telecommuting is the present-future of corporate culture worldwide. Techcast, a George Washington University think tank, projects that by 2019, thirty percent of all workers in industrialized nations may work from home 2-3 days per week. Today, nearly a quarter of the emerging global markets telecommute at least once a week.

What is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting, remote work, or telework is a work arrangement where employees do not commute to a central place of employment. Usually, they work from home or other locations. This method of labor was made possible by modern advancements in telecommunications, such as the Internet, Wifi, Cellular Phones and IM.

Pros:

Employees save on money in terms of transportation, lunch, office-home tax breaks and daycare. Studies have also shown that employees who telecommute experience less stress and are happier about their career.

Employers save money due to being able to cut down on office space and the expenditures that arise from having staff on premise, such as office supplies, travel for meetings, etc. In addition, they save money and boost efficiency due to employee retention since staff who telecommute are more likely to keep their jobs.

Cons:

Not all employees are available to handle any problems that may arise at the office. In a 2012 Wakefield Research survey revealed that fifty percent of employers oppose telecommuting and thirty-five percent tolerate it. In 2013 Yahoo evoked controversy when their CEO, Marissa Mayer, cut all telecommuting contracts, so that the company could focus on having their team reconnect with the company’s mission and culture.

Office Evolution

Due to technology, employers can  cut their office size in half and thus monthly rental costs. Through utilizing features such as Hot-Desking, (an office organization system which allows multiple workers to use a single physical work station during different periods of time.) Instead of having a labyrinth of cubicles – office space can be transformed by having a regiment of work stations shared as needed by a rotating workforce that comes in on separate days of the week.

Essentially, employers can have a large team, with half the space. Soft phones can be used to allow an employee to log into their office phone  from the handset at the station. When the next batch of users arrives to work on an alternate day, they can simply log-into their accounts on the phone and their settings will be loaded.

How to Make Telecommuting Work for Everyone

In order for companies and employees to make telecommuting work, a balance is required. The worker must be present when needed, whether virtually or in person, and should physically be on-site at least part-time. In addition, employees must be self-motivated and focused. Conversely, employers must give their team enough flexibility and trust to get the job done. Meghan Biro, CEO of TalentCulture Consulting Group, wrote about how knowing thyself, and knowing thy culture is key to making virtual collaboration work:

hands shaking Know Thyself, whether you occupy the corner office or work from a kitchen table in St. Louis. If as an employee you look into yourself and can’t find your core – what motivates you – take a personality inventory or talk to a career coach and reconnect with what motivates you and will make you a successful employee, no matter where you sit. If you are a manager who questions the value of virtual employees, talk to a mentor or take a personality inventory. Explore your willingness to tolerate uncertainty and change. Probe to understand where you’re flexible and what your exact limits and expectations are.”

The future of telecommuting is bright and the possibilities of how employees and employers can collaborate are growing each day. Companies from Silicon Valley to Bangkok are embracing the modern work environment and are experiencing more prosperity all around. For more information on telecommuting and transforming office communications, visit: www.UniVoIP.com

 

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