With the power of connectivity and internet access today, a new form of work arrangement…
Disadvantages of telecommuting for Employers
In attempt for employers to seek-out new ways to provide employees with a greater work/life balance with improved retention rates, telecommuting has become popular option for achieving this. In fact, telecommuting is different from a traditional office job in a number of ways and can have great advantages for employers and employees if the program is carefully crafted to meet employee needs and business requirements. However, telecommuting has some potential disadvantages for employers that should actually know before establishing this type of work-environment for their employees. So, below are some of the disadvantages of telecommuting to employers:
- Lack of oversight over employees: It’s nearly impossible for employers to provide direct oversight or to micromanage their telecommuting employees. In fact, telecommuting will greatly limit employers’ ability to supervise their workers which is a very essential ingredient for healthy working environment. Additionally, although most telecommuters experience higher productivity levels, employers should also be aware of the fact that a small percentage of employees use telecommuting as an opportunity to slack off. However, employers can overcome this potential pitfall by creating performance benchmarks and by making sure that employees who work remotely are meeting the needed requirements in regards to production and quality of work.
- Security concerns: Telecommuting employees always require remote access to company systems and this can actually create a great security leak or risk for employers. However, this can be dealt with by putting in place protocols in-order to fill-up any security-gaps and employers should also consider training telecommuting-workers on remote access security coupled with frequent password updates.
- Poor communication: Telecommuting-workers and their employers’ at times find it difficult to stay in touch most especially if they have different aspects about healthy communication. In fact, communication should be an issue to be addressed ahead of time and preferably in a signed telecommuter agreement.
- A risk of production loss: Although many workers can become more productive in a telecommuting working-environment, some employees tend to become less productive thus putting employers at production-loss. However, this can be solved by putting in place production and quality benchmarks that can serve as motivators for employees who find the distractions of home difficult to overcome.
- Disengagement risks: When an employee participates in the daily rhythms of an office environment, a certain amount of corporate culture and personality is developed. But if the same employee works from a remote location, he/she can quickly become disengaged from the life of a business. So, it’s highly-recommended to try incorporating face-to-face meetings into your company’s telecommuting policies for best result.
- A lack of brainstorming ability: Telecommuting workers tend to feel isolated and may find it difficult to collaborate with other colleagues on company-projects and this may actually affect the company in decision-making process. However, this can be dealt with through online team meetings, shared documents, frequent calls and occasional face-to-face sessions.
- Stalled advancements: Most employers think that telecommuters are not interested in advancing their careers. In fact, it’s very difficult for telecommuters to advance into supervisory or managerial roles. So, if a company has invested in an employee basing on the idea that they will eventually assume larger roles in the business, then telecommuting can be a difficult pill to swallow.
- Possible legal risks: Telecommuting is a new development in the business world and the legal-community is actually scrambling to create new legal ramifications, including the liability issues involved with telecommuters who get injured while working from home. Additionally, employers need to also create legal-procedures to be followed by employees working from home but this can actually be expensive for the company.
- Telecommuting requires self-motivated employees: Although companies save a lot of money on telecommuting workers, employers actually face a challenge of finding the right workers for telecommuting because it requires maximum self-motivation. In fact, workers with low self-motivation will lead to production loss which can greatly affect employers. However, this can be solved by interviewing employees to measure their self-motivation levels.
- Career-damage risk: Some employees believe that believe telecommuting might put them at a career disadvantage when it comes to career-advancement. However, employers can overcome this perception by keeping the lines of communication open and strong while ensuring that employees are given an opportunity to prove themselves. In fact, many telecommuting employees today have great managerial-skills which can be of great benefit to employers or companies.