Telecommuting can cut costs, but not every employee is right for it!
Economic woes and increased stress on workers are a few reasons why many HR leaders are looking further into telecommuting. The offer of telecommuting is one more way to attract top candidates wishing to spend less time commuting and more time at home. According to a 2008 report by the Families and Work Institute, three out of four employed parents say they don’t spend enough time with their children and lengthy commutes are partly to blame.
One benefit to companies offering telecommuting on a full time basis is the cost savings. Companies offering telecommuting save money by reducing office space and energy costs as leases come up for renewal. Deloitte LLP saved $30 million in 2008 by restructuring facilities to accommodate mobile workers who don’t need permanent desks.
Currently 82 of Fortune’s best 100 companies to work for offer telecommuting. Though the employees who work from home earn less pay, they make up for it in gas savings and time spent with family.
Take caution however in who you hire for such a role. Not everyone is a good fit to work from home. “It takes a certain sort of person to work from home. They must be very self-disciplined,” says Allison Ausband, Delta’s vice president for reservation sales and customer care. Of the 5,000 reservation agents working for Delta, currently 570 work full time from home.
If telecommuting is right for your organization, you’re not only going to have to implement it on a full time basis in order to decrease office space, but you’ll need to hire the right type of individuals who can successfully perform their duties at home. According to Allison Ausband, great discipline is necessary or your employee might establish an unstructured work routine since no immediate supervision is present.
Perhaps the best way to determine a candidate’s level of discipline, conscientiousness, and other traits desirable for successful telecommuting would be to add a behavioral assessment into the screening process. Benchmarking your top telecommuting performers and ranking your incoming candidates against this benchmark could be an effective way to not only streamline your hiring process but also to hire individuals who will fit best into this culture.