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Remote Telecommuting – Working From Home

 

Introduction

As a Remote Telecommuter, I have enjoyed the benefits of working from home for nearly 10 years. Being employed in the telecommunications space afforded me early access to this attractive work style. Fortunately Companies I worked for realized the significant benefits to be gained from offering and supporting Remote Telecommuting.

Over the years Remote Telecommuting has become much more common place and today it enjoys a wide acceptance from both employees and employers. Widespread availability of Internet Access, improvements in residential network technology and IP Phone Technology have all contributed to making Telecommuting available to just about everybody. The benefits are numerous for Company’s willing to offer the option as well as for the employees who are fortunate enough to make use of it.

The Remote Telecommuter

Not everyone is a good candidate to be a remote telecommuter. Indeed certain personality types and people with particular skill sets are more prone to success at working remotely than others. I have discussed this w/ many professionals over the years and frankly have been surprised at how many felt that working from home was just not for them. Reasons given for non interest included inherent distractions within their home environment. Some simply had no suitable area at their place of residence to locate a home office or space that would provide adequate privacy to support uninterrupted phone conversations. Others stated that they just did not have the self discipline to stay focused while working from home. The temptation to watch TV or do anything but work was too great. Others have mentioned missing the camaraderie and social interaction that a brick & mortar office provides. If any of these rings true for you, or your prospective Remote Telecommuter employee, Remote Telecommuting may not be the right option.

Care needs to be taken by Company’s scrutinizing candidates to fill Remote Telecommuter positions. You are looking for someone who is independent and capable of working without direct supervision. The Remote Telecommuter is one who can manage their time effectively and does not take their eye off the ball when it comes to goal attainment. Successful Remote Telecommuters are reliable employees whom management trusts and are counted on to regularly produce competent work with superior results

Environmental Impact

Today more than ever before, Company’s and their employees are embracing good stewardship policies toward this big ball we all share and call home. For me personally, I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the Telecom products & services my company (Exabar Telecom) offers, such as Voice Conferencing, Video Teleconferencing, and the ability to practice Remote Telecommuting, have such a positive impact on the environment. Face to Face meetings will always remain a business necessity, however the frequency of these types of meetings can be drastically reduced and a much greater efficiency realized by leveraging reliable, affordable telecom technology. Fewer cars on the roads mean fewer harmful emissions getting into the air that we all breath. Company decision makers need to seriously consider (and feel good about) the positive ecological impact that implementing a Remote Telecommuting program will have on the environment.

The Company Benefits – More and more companies are joining the Remote Telecommuting revolution every day. “But why? What’s in it for me?” The Company Owner/Manager asks. Actually a lot!

Lower Costs: Implementing a Remote Telecommuting program can significantly lower daily expenses. Imagine allowing 5 of your employees to work from home. First of all you would not require as much office space. Fewer cubicles would be needed. The need for everything from office supplies to coffee and water would be significantly diminished equaling less overhead.   

Hiring Advantage: The Company that offers prospective job candidates an attractive Remote Telecommuting option has a distinct hiring advantage over competitors who do not.  Companies can significantly widen their geographical search for prospective candidates when offering a Remote Telecommuter position. Remote Telecommuters do not have to be within easy driving distance of the office. For that matter they do not even have to be located in the same city, state or country! This not only increases the number of available prospects for hiring consideration, but greatly improves the overall pool of talent to select candidates from.

Productivity: Remote Telecommuters are less stressed than their commuting peers/counterparts. The Commuter says, “I’m late for work but need to stop and get gas! Arrrggggg.. And there must be a wreck up there!” Fact, an employee that is less stressed will produce a better quality of work which directly equates to being more productive. The more stressed an employee is, the more susceptible they are to getting “burned out”. Having to constantly replace burned out employees cost valuable company time in that they need to be ramped up and trained.

Cons for the Company  Implementing a Remote Telecommuter Program will require “Buy In” from everyone at the company including Owners, Management and employees.

Management fears “since I’m not looking over their shoulder they must be on the couch eating Bon Bon’s and watching television!” Now I’m not going to say this is totally unfounded, J, but managing Remote Telecommuters will require some subtle management changes. For one thing management can be empowered with a different way of “Seeing” their team members. Today Unified Communications coupled w/ presence is the technology leveraged by management to keep tabs on their remote reports. Set up and used properly, presence will allow Supervisors to keep closer activity watch on their Remote Telecommuter reports than employees who are physically located at the office!

Managers will need to adjust to setting up conference calls for meetings w/ their reports as opposed to physically meeting w/ them face to face in the conference room, or perhaps a mix of both. Managers will need to take care to keep Remote Telecommuters “In the loop” of happenings at the office and take care to ensure that their Remote Telecommuters feel “connected”.

Remote Telecommuter Benefits – Where to begin because there are many! Less wasted time behind the wheel, sitting in traffic, waiting for flights, stressing about being on time for that appointment.

Economic – I definitely save money being a Remote Telecommuter. Most obvious is the money I save on gasoline not driving to and from work every day. No tolls or parking expenses. Plus it’s much less wear & tear on my Subaru. Having a home office does afford some tax credit/write off. Being able to eat lunch at home also saves me money and frankly allows me to eat healthier.

Productive and Efficient – To say I enjoy less time commuting is an understatement when I can literally walk straight from my bedroom to my desk! At a minimum I would say this saves me an average of two hours a day!  Being at your desk as opposed to being behind the wheel is time spent being productive.

Quality of life – I don’t know about your location but traffic here in Austin TX is notorious and being able to forego time spent in stop and go traffic is worth the price of admission by itself. Over all I find my Work-Life Balance to be better as it is just much more enjoyable, comfortable and relaxing, being able to work from home. The overall benefit is only amplified for those faced with a particularly long congested commute. In addition Remote Telecommuting can prove quite essential for those who might have an Elderly Parent, Children or pets that need looking after.

One of the things I most enjoy about Remote Telecommuting (being the independent spirit that I am J) is not having a Supervisor breathing down my neck! At least physically..

Cons for Telecommuter – Being a Remote Telecommuter should be considered a privilege that has to be continually earned.

Working from a home office can have its own unique challenges. First you need to make sure that your “office” is quiet enough to conduct professional business. You do not want customers hearing a television or stereo blaring in the background while on a call. For me it’s keeping my Jack Russell Terrier from barking loudly when a walker or a bicyclist passes by on the sidewalk out front. You must stay focused on the task at hand and be strong enough to avoid getting sidetracked by the multitude of distractions that exist at home. Another thing to look out for is your being able to “let go”. You have got to master being able to separate yourself from work at the end of the day when working from a home office. Your desk, your phone, your work is always just a few steps away for the Remote Telecommuter. Most Remote Telecommuters I know wind up giving their employers more quality work hours than their commuting peers. Step away from the computer! Go take a shower!   

Technology

The technology needed to support a Remote Telecommuter is widely available and very affordable. First the home office must have access to a high speed internet connection. The Home Office network should have a router that includes QoS (Quality of Service) capability. The Remote Telecommuter will need an IP Phone (Or a soft phone) that can be set up as just another extension on the Company’s Hosted IP PBX. Company Management can rest assured they will be able to monitor their Remote Employees’ activity through leveraging Unified Communications & Presence technologies. For more on getting your Network ready for Remote Telecommuting please refer to the earlier blog post on www.exabar.com “Is My Company Network Ready For VoIP Service?”

Conclusion: Remote Telecommuting benefits both employee and company. The Company lowers expenses, enjoys being able to offer a strategic hiring advantage and substantially increases productivity. Employees save money, have higher satisfaction levels and less irritation associated w/ commuting. And the positive impact on the environment is a benefit enjoyed by all.

 

Den

Denver Griffith
Exabar Telecom

Denver Griffith is an experienced Telecommunications Professional that holds the position of Vice President of Sales with Exabar Telecom based in Austin Texas. denver@exabar.com