As soon as an employee puts in a request to work from home, a manager inevitably raises the issue that their productivity will decrease and that it will be too hard to manage them from a distance.
If that attitude prevails, companies can lose excellent employees. They also perpetuate myths that have been found to be untrue.
The Truth about Employees Who Work from Home
For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has conducted a study that disputes the idea that people who work at home are not as diligent as those whose desk falls in the eyesight of the boss. Their study showed that teleworkers are actually more productive and less likely to take time off work, even when they are sick.
As well, Stanford University conducted a study that showed corporations that allow employees to work from home can save up to $2,000 a year per employee. The savings included reduced space and furniture needed for workers, less building maintenance, and lower security costs.
People ask to work from home for a variety of reasons, including avoiding a move, avoiding long work commutes, and being present when children arrive home from their schools. Companies willing to accept this adjustment can also save valuable and productive employees who get the job done.
How to Allow Employees to Work from Home Successfully
When managers believe that workers out of sight may not be working, human resources professionals must sometimes gently point out that workers at their desks can also find ways to take time outs such as searching for personal interest items on their computers instead of working.
For the nervous supervisors, one solution may be the remote use of time-tracking software. That also guards employers against claims of overtime from at-home workers. It’s a good idea as well to have a written policy for at-home workers to sign clarifying that overtime can be claimed only where the worker has received e-mailed authorization from a supervisor.
To guard against workers who want to take afternoons off and work in the evenings, companies should have a written and signed policy prohibiting work before or after designated hours of the day. That ensures that at home workers are available during the day to respond to emails or participate in conference calls.
Agreements that allow employees’ wishes to work at home should also include a written addendum that permits the company to revoke the practice at any time at its sole discretion. That protects the company, should the nature of the work the employee is doing change and their presence is required in the workplace.
Working from home is slowly becoming a growing trend. Therefore, it is important for organizations to take the steps to see how they will handle an employee that requests this kind of workplace setup now.
About the Author
Roz Bahrami is a blogger for SkyPrep, an online training software. Roz regularly contributes blogs related to corporate training, L&D, and marketing.