Telecommuting has gained popularity among many businesses over the last two years because of the escalating price of gasoline and travel. Now that gas prices have stabilized somewhat, has telecommuting lost some of its luster?
That answer is, arguably, no. With cash-depleted companies looking to cut costs in a poor economy, telecommuting is still relevant. IT Business Edge contributor Michael Stevens has written a Telecommuting IT Checklist examining the business benefits of telecommuting, thus helping IT managers "cover all the bases" for telecommuting arrangements when a designated work space at home replaces a conventional work space in an office building.
IT managers can have two different levels of involvement in telecommuting. Some will provide IT support for telecommuters in other departments-which is no small challenge. Others will be implementing telecommuting in the IT department itself, which means dealing with a whole range of management issues, from determining who will participate to ensuring that legal requirements are met. But the rewards of a telecommuting program can be immense.
The checklist argues that four primary benefits are gained from telecommuting.
- Lower costs. Companies can save money on leasing costs, furniture and maintenance.
- Higher productivity. There is plenty of evidence that telecommuters in many job categories are more productive working at home.
- Access to a larger labor pool. Telecommuters can be located anywhere, making it easier to recruit for hard-to-fill positions.
- Environmental benefits. Because it reduces the number of cars on the road, telecommuting is a green business practice that reduces a company's carbon footprint.
Though telecommuting can be a plus, one has to wonder about telecommuting concerns.
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