With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world of traditional employment welcomed a prevalent form of jobs in the most informal areas: telecommuting. Working from home, home office, or simply working remotely has become not only a reality but even a necessity for the survival of multiple organizations.
The technological revolution expected within the next five years came earlier than expected and during a health crisis. Within months and even weeks, even computer giants had to change their organizational scheme completely.
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What is telecommuting
First of all, it should be confused with the concept of freelance work. Although both may seem interchangeable ideas, the truth is that they are opposed. While freelance work refers to remote work by freelancers (who may or may not collaborate with a company), the definition of telework can be summed up in the form of employment associated with roles in a dependency relationship.
Telecommuting can occur:
- Organically, that is, encouraged by the organization itself.
- As a contingency plan, the staff will work from home if there is regrowth.
- Telework is carried out from Monday to Friday, replicating the classic routine.
- Partially, remote work is used on selected days.
Advantages of teleworking for companies
The benefits of teleworking are not few, but in general terms and concerning the management of talent and HR of any company, we can mention at least five great benefits of the home office that we have experienced directly.
From the search to selecting employees, going through the onboarding process and regular meetings. Virtuality allows you to focus on fundamental aspects of each task, centralize work materials, collaborate on files simultaneously and connect with any team member immediately.
Instead of tedious personal meetings, necessary interactions, or even rumours in the office, teleworking is more efficient when communicating news or tasks. Some platforms facilitate the circulation of information and monitor task results through specific KPIs. At least so far, all issues are complicated to apply in “real life”.
Optimize time control and transfers
Check-in or log-in or log-out times can be observed, measured, controlled, and output to payroll using software, online platforms, and even apps. Without physical support, the entrance to the “office” can be done directly from the mobile.
As there are fewer distractions because the worker is in the comfort of his home, it is easier for him to dedicate himself more intensely to his work. Making better use of time and at the same time having tools that facilitate time-tracking is an excellent virtue of remote work.
Reduces stress and increases productivity
Teleworking has a direct impact on health. According to a study by Staples, a leading company in office supplies, 75% of bosses who implement telecommuting note that their employees are happier. In the same sense, they report 37% less absenteeism and 48% claim to be in better spirits.
The main reason would be to avoid long journeys to the office, the possibility of sharing time with cohabitants and family, and having balanced and healthy diets when eating at home.
Contributes to cost control
The volume of savings is significant by dispensing with a traditional office. Not only do the costs of rent, services, furniture and food disappear, but also the risk of an accident at work and everything that this implies.
The worker works with his tools, and even if the teleworking law establishes that the company must provide these, the costs are lower concerning the face-to-face employment modality.
It is ideal for attracting qualified professionals
According to a report by the Buffer platform on a sample of 2,500 highly qualified workers in the technology and information technology sector, 99% indicated that they prefer telecommuting to traditional work. In the same sense, they consider it one of the great benefits of their current job position and a defining factor when developing their professional skills within an organization and improving the work experience.
In this way, remote work constitutes, in addition to naturally the salary received and what is known as “emotional salary”, one of the most exciting attractions: the greater specificity, expertise and trajectory in a given field the worker has.
Disadvantages of telecommuting for companies
Although the benefits of teleworking for companies are many, the truth is that some factors can work in the opposite direction. This is especially so when the implementation of remote work is not executed correctly or fails to match the company’s culture.
It is challenging to regulate as there is no legislation in this regard
Despite the pandemic and the fact that the vast majority of organizations have turned to this modality, the truth is that (as is often the case) reality goes beyond the law. For this reason, various aspects of remote working life are left unsupervised.
From scheduling to employee shutdown to “work accidents” at home, much of this has to be improvised on the fly and can lead to serious inconvenience.
Forces to implement strict cybersecurity measures
Each worker uses their equipment (computers and mobile phones) for their tasks undoubtedly means a significant cost reduction. But at the same time, it means that potentially sensitive information and data of the company will be transiting spaces that are not as secure as their servers and equipment.
The good idea is to opt for virtual support and security software that helps avoid any data loss or leak. However, the ideal is always to provide the work tools to prevent this type of risk.
Can affect work engagement
Although technology can shorten distances, the truth is that virtual interactions will probably never be equal to real ones. They are especially considering that most of the information we communicate is non-verbal.
Being away from colleagues and supervisors, or perhaps never getting to meet them in person, can create a feeling of disconnection with the environment and add a significant obstacle to the worker’s sense of belonging to the company. All this translates into less connection with the objectives of the organization.
Makes learning difficult
Knowing, receiving, incorporating, and applying new information is not passive. When adopting new knowledge, social interaction plays a fundamental role. From observation to the ability to know different perspectives on the same process, there is no learning process without human links.
Although virtuality facilitates ties, the truth is that it limits other aspects associated with sharing the same space-time with other pairs. This can make it challenging to adopt the company culture during onboarding and implement new working methods.
Can affect teamwork
Returning to the previous points, that is, considering how learning can be limited and engagement restricted, teleworking can highly reinforce individuality and ownership of tasks. But not without taking away some value from teamwork.
Although this can be corrected by using specific platforms and developing an integration plan in this regard, the truth is that this can be one of the most significant disadvantages of teleworking.
Three tips for implementing telecommuting
With its advantages and disadvantages, the truth is that telecommuting has ceased to be a “trend” in human resources to become a reality. That is why if you are thinking about the possibility of adopting this modality (either partially or totally), we give you three tips that you should not ignore.
Create a remote work policy
Similar to the welcome book, onboarding documents or codes of conduct. The telecommuting policy must have clear guidelines on what expectations are placed on the employee and comply with them. Schedules, frequency and duration (approximate) of meetings, health policies and current legislation, among other elements, should be concentrated in this entire document for virtual coexistence.
Use a preparatory checklist
Along with teleworking policies, it is also an excellent initiative to provide a document containing information related to the use of software, applications, security measures and equipment (primarily if it is assigned).
The checklist must be signed in accordance by the employee and will have legal validity.
Centralize processes with HR Software
As we have already mentioned, an essential part of teleworking is virtuality. Dispensing with paper is crucial, but it is not even a possibility in the home office, either optional or due to confinement. This is why it is vital to have a platform where documentation and information on payroll, vacations, transfers, absenteeism, etc., can be concentrated.