Telecommuting as an Employee Benefit

When we offer employees the chance to work from home, they usually love it.  It’s become a perk for working with us – and it’s easy to set up.  There are a variety of ways to work with telecommuting employees, but I like videoconferencing the best.  It’s great to be able to see someone when you’re working with them.  There are two videoconferencing tools we use, iChat and Skype.  Some people feel iChat has better quality video but I prefer Skype.  The audio quality is so far superior it out weighs any minimal difference in video.  Bob O’Haver, my partner/husband here in the Berkshires has spent hours on end working virtually side by side with an associate in the LA area via Skype.  I admit it can take time to get used to being on camera, but after a while you forget it’s even on.  Be careful though…  forgetting you’re on camera can be embarrassing!  If you prefer, you can always make the video one way – so you can see them but they can’t see you.  I’ve also found the mute button to be a saving grace. 🙂

I recently read a well-written article that references ’employee benefit’ as being one of the many reasons American businesses should promote telecommuting:

American Businesses Should Promote Telecommuting

By Robert Gallagher on Jun 23rd, 2008
Telecommuting (”working from home”) has several benefits to businesses, the economy, the environment, and the worker and should therefore be adopted popularly.

In the exciting age of digital technology and high energy costs, telecommuting in American businesses has slowly become popular. Telecommuting is the ability of working from home, or from another remote workstation outside the traditional office. Thanks in part to technological advancements and a sluggish economy coupled with environmental concerns, telecommuting has become an innovative approach to doing business.

To curb rising energy costs, and to boast employee morale with an affordable “benefit” or perk, telecommuting should be adopted even more in the coming years. Unfortunately, many firms hold to a traditional approach to doing business, with employees working under the direct supervision of managers. The central problem in today’s business society is a lack of trust in employees….read more.