Teleworking Conference Shows Benefits of Practice

Ask any manager how they feel about allowing workers to work remotely from home and you will get a very strong sense of nervousness on their part.   Most middle managers and many executives have more than a little trepidation about workers not being where they can be closely watched on a constant basis.   HR professionals have learned, however, that allowing workers to be on the job from home actually can increase overall productivity and reduce turnover.

In a recent conference on the subject held in Washington D.C. on the subject, all members of the discussion panel found that workers who are able to work remotely from home actually are often more productive, take fewer sick days and are more engaged with coworkers and with the public.

The conference was the first of its kind.  The Telecommuting, Remote and Distributed (TRaD) Works Forum was held in Washington, D.C., on June 10th.   The difference between the different types of workers is that telecommuters work from home some of the time, while remote workers work from home exclusively. In a distributed work situation, the employer is one that has no brick-and-mortar location at all and all employees that work for such a company work from home.

The success or failure of a worker who has the opportunity to work from home often lies in the attitude that worker has toward their job.  If they have the idea that somehow a work situation from home will be more relaxed than working at a call center, for example, it is likely they won’t do well working remotely.  According to Cynthia Barlow Doi, operations director at American Express, the company keeps an eye out for this kind of outlook when hiring new workers.   What the company wants are workers who demonstrate an interest in caring for customers and have a basic understanding that can help them work with tech support to diagnose and fix computer problems.

For TeleTech Holdings, a company that provides consulting and customer service solutions to Fortune 100 companies, they rely on a selection process that is based heavily on scientific selection and assessment. There are four characteristics and skills that the company needs to see when hiring: resilience, self-motivation, time management and independent decision-making.

For educational company, Kaplan Test Prep, the hiring process in determining whether a remote worker will work well for the company is focusing on the same types of competencies that were traditionally used for onsite workers.  Since 2009 and the Great Recession, Kaplan closed many of its brick-and-mortar locations and now 86 percent of its workforce is virtual.

One of the biggest challenges to both managers and workers who work virtually is not having that face-to-face interaction with management and coworkers that many are used to in a traditional work setting.  Workers can feel isolated even with Skype meetings and other tools that make virtual work almost as good as being at the same location.

Some companies such as Kaplan play virtual Trivial Pursuit and even have a virtual happy hour from time to time. Others make use of special interest clubs that focus on hobbies such as photography, book clubs and will sometimes have contests that offer up company paid prizes such as $100 gift cards, for example.

Every company is different and taking the step to allow some or even most of your workforce to work from home is a big step. Helping you to determine the next steps to take with regard to payroll and benefits, worker benefit packages and other concerns is part of what we do at NetPEO.

At NetPEO, we can help you to fill your company’s employment needs whether your workers are mostly onsite or working remotely.   That is why many companies choose NetPEO to help them with their human resource needs. Net PEO offers a complete range of services that include payroll, management of employee benefits and liability management for employers, brokerage services, and employee leasing.

Contact us today to discuss your company’s current needs so that you can focus on running your business.  Call to schedule a free assessment today.  Let NetPEO help you with all of your employee needs.