Some companies allow their employees to work from home. Others stick to the conventional office-based work. Which of these options are better? Our friends over at FindMyWorkSpace compare both alternatives so you can decide which best suits your company.
Decades ago, going to work means that employees really need to up and leave the house to clock in at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. in their respective offices. This means employees have to face the morning rush – traffic and all, to spend more than half of their day in the office to get the job done and earn a living.
That routine changed for many who are now afforded with the luxury of technology. With just a laptop and a stable internet connection at home or in places such as coffee shops or co-working spaces, employees are not compelled to join the morning rush each day just to get work done in a designated office – they can just do it straight from home.
This new possibility paved way for many other advantages. Traffic problems are lessened, companies get to save on office space and furniture costs (employees also get to save time and money from the daily commute), and lastly, all these were possible without even compromising the economy. Whoa!
As an entrepreneur, you might be thinking about what could be the best method you would like to impose on your employees. Would telecommuting work best, or an office-based staff is better? There are still advantages and disadvantages between the two, let’s take a look at the most common ones.
1) Meetings and other Group Activities
OFFICE-BASED: Real-time and face to face communication.
TELECOMMUTE: Also in real-time, but communication is limited.
Holding group meetings and brainstorming activities is still possible even though your employees are not all in the same room (thanks to programs such as Skype), but if you are the kind of boss who prefer to have face-to-face communication, then this would certainly be a hurdle if you allow your staff to telecommute.
This would however depend on your industry. If work requires more visual and detailed concepts that needs to be conveyed, then it is best to conduct face-to-face meetings. But if your employees just need to handle writing, documenting, and other paper or clerical work, then online meetings would suffice.
2) Rate of Productivity
OFFICE-BASED: Provides a monotonous environment; not good for creatives.
TELECOMMUTE: Employees can get to choose where they can work.
Office-based work could affect productivity in a sense that employees are stressed even before work starts (with the traffic and morning rush). Telecommuting also runs the risk of hampered productivity especially when your workers get distracted often at home. In addition, certain people respond differently to a working environment – others prefer to work under pressure, while others could work better in a more relaxed ambiance.
3) Costs to Consider
OFFICE-BASED: Rent, office furniture, tools and basic utilities need to be paid for.
TELECOMMUTE: No need to pay rent; spending for office tools not necessary.
If you are still starting out as an entrepreneur, it is normal to cut corners for the moment because you need to spend your capital wisely. Renting out a big office space entails maintenance and furnishing costs. You have to think twice before committing to such a thing because this takes a huge chunk of your company’s monthly expenses.
Allowing your employees to telecommute lessens these costs dramatically. You don’t need to pay rent and invest in office equipment because your employees may have their own laptops to work with.
4) Telecommute as a Perk or Benefit
If you think your business is better off with an office-based staff, telecommuting could be a sort of “perk” or benefit that you can give to new parents (as part of an extended maternal/paternal leave), or to solo parents who need to take care of young kids. Companies such as Pinterest and Facebook offer this kind of flexibility.
Countries such as Singapore helps entrepreneurs weigh in between telecommuting and office-based staff through government-initiated programs such as the TAFEP scheme.
Primarily, the program helps you assess your company and employees if it is feasible to go for a telecommute-based working arrangement. It will also determine how you can properly manage employees under such arrangements. It also helps entrepreneurs explore the possibility of opting for co-working spaces, which is perfect if you still want to test the waters or if you want to save on operational costs and work with a small number of employees.