We’ve all heard a lot of the obvious arguments in favor of allowing employees to telecommute, including lower overhead and happier employees – and those reasons are 100% true. Today, however, I’d like to offer up 3 additional perks of this undersung employee benefit you may not have considered:
- An unlimited pool of qualified job candidates. Employees who physically come into the office can only commute so far. Even if they live within, say, a two-hour radius of your workplace (road warriors indeed!), everyone outside that small circle is eliminated. If you allow full telecommuting, however, a vast additional pool of candidates opens up. Depending on the job, these folks could be anywhere within your time zone or even anywhere in the world. The right candidates are always out there, but maybe not right around the corner. Telecommuting allows you to greatly extend your recruiting reach.
- Heightened productivity. Ah, yes, the urban legend of the telecommuting “worker” lounging on the couch and bingeing on bonbons and dreadful daytime TV. Like so many urban legends, however, this one is more myth than fact. When telecommuting is a good fit, working from home enables workers to be more productive rather than less. The employee is able to work when he or she is most effective, and it’s also easier to sneak in extra bits of work time on, say, the weekend – when many on-site workers have left their computers (and their “work brains”) back at the office. Telecommuting also enables employees to capture work time that might otherwise have been lost – during, for example, a day when the worker is too sick to come into the office but not too sick to get some quality work done from home.
- Attracting workers you wouldn’t otherwise. Telecommuting appeals to different workers for different reasons, and offering the benefit enables you to tap the talents of workers you wouldn’t have been able to bring on board otherwise. In addition to the geographically impractical workers mentioned above, you may also attract:
- talented introverts who have no interest in a traditional office environment
- highly self-motivated individuals who relish the opportunity to work largely independently
- eager yet schedule-challenged people who are ready and willing to put in 8+ solid hours a day – just not all during regular business hours
In short, telecommuting is a relatively simple, low-cost way to expand and deepen your talent pool. Maybe it’s worth another look at your workplace.