Over the years, I’ve had a lot of offices. Some of them nice and others, not so much. The biggest office I had was my first and the smallest was when I was a VP. Go figure.
But the nicest office I’ve ever had was when I first started my consulting business. My home office was the perfect size and had great equipment – like two computer monitors. (If you don’t have two monitors, try it sometime…you’ll never use a single monitor again.) Anywho, I digress.
The reason I bring up home offices is because more companies/employees are considering telecommuting as an option. It can help create greater work/life balance, increase productivity, and save employees on gas money.
That being said, telecommuting is a very serious decision. It’s not a ‘wake up one morning and tell everyone they can work from home’ kind of thing. Some elements you need to think about include:
- What will your customers/vendors hear when they call your telecommuting employee? Will 6-year old little Sally pick up the phone or will they hear Sparky the Labradoodle barking in the background?
- What equipment is necessary to set up a home office? Who will purchase and maintain it?
- Can your home-based employee provide a safe place for sensitive information like medical data or credit card information? Is their computer hooked up to an unsecured network?
- What happens if a home-based employee is injured on the job? What are the company’s OSHA requirements and their liability?
This is just a sampling of the questions you should ask when agreeing to a home-working arrangement.
And, don’t forget that your management team needs some guidance on how to supervise these employees and manage the work of people they won’t see all the time. It’s easy to spot a slacker when they’re in the office. But when they’re miles away at home, how will you know they’re working for you and not just watching Oprah? Or, worse yet, working for someone else while on your payroll.
Home offices can be the best…once you work out the details.0