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Telecommuting – levels, benefits and tips!

Telecommuting is also known as e-commuting or working from home, generically described as work that can be completed from a remote location, i.e. outside a traditional office or workplace setting. It is a work arrangement in which the employee works outside the office, often working from home or a location close to home i.e. a coffee shop. Rather than travelling to the office every day, the employee will telecommunicate with co-workers and employers via telephone, videoconferencing and email. The employee may sometimes go to the office to attend meetings or touch base with the employer. However, there are other options such as conference calls, which means the employee does not need to visit the office every day.

Levels of telecommuting:

There are four levels of telecommuting which are possible:

  • 100% Telecommuting: this category includes virtual jobs and other positions that are 100% commuting. These jobs may involve being part of a distributed team, working for a completely virtual company, or working for a more traditional company that offer 100% virtual work options

  • Most Telecommuting: roles that are mostly telecommuting, may require workers to spend at least part of their work schedule in a traditional office depending on the job, you could be free telecommute for most of your work schedule, but require to come into traditional workplace setting at least some of the time.

  • Some Telecommuting: Jobs that offer some telecommuting may mean working anywhere from a day or two, a week to several days a month in an office or other non-virtual work settings

  • Option for Telecommuting: the term optional sums up this category. A job with an option for telecommuting may lay out the terms of the telecommuting option upfront, or it could mean it’s up to you to negotiate with the employer to reach a mutual agreement about how often you can telecommute and then the conditions for completing your work assignments.


Benefits:

There are several benefits of telecommuting, for both employers and employees.

Benefits for employers:

There are a number of potential benefits for employers when they establish well-designed telecommuting programs for their employees. Below are some benefits:

  • Increased productivity: While it might seem out-of-sight employees will take advantage of opportunities to slack off, studies indicated the opposite. Studies show that in one case productivity increased by 13% when employees worked from home. Another study found that telecommuters worked on average, 5 to 7 hours longer than their in-office counterparts

  • Reduced turnover: Employee turnover can be a costly proposition for a business. Studies have shown that employees who are able to telecommute tend to be much happier than their in-office counterparts. When employees are happy, they are typically less likely to leave a position, which can add up savings for employers in the long run

  • Increase morale: this, too, can have an impact on turnover. Employees who are able to work from home and enjoy a better work/life balance tend to feel more valued. A study showed that telecommuters tend to be less stressed and happier than traditional office workers

  • Environmentally friendly: telecommuting takes the commute out of the working equation. For eco-conscious companies, this can be a big win

  • Economically sound: employees aren’t the only ones who can enjoy financial benefits associated with telecommuting. Company can save a large amount of money annually on each employee who telecommutes.

Benefits for employees:

  • Greater flexibility: most telecommuting jobs have very flexible work schedules allowing you to focus on other tasks that equally matter with ease, such as taking care of children

  • Greater fulfilment: generally, you would be happier and more fulfilled than those who work under traditional work arrangement. This is brought about by a number of factors, including flexible work schedules, minimal supervisions and lack of commuting to and from work

  • More savings: telecommuting requires no formal attire, no commuting expenses and no parking fees (or other means of transportation and costs), you are therefore capable of saving more money which can significantly boost your disposable income

  • Increased independence: telecommuting negates the need for constant reminders, direct supervisions from the managers and bosses and also offers less inflexible working environments. For those reasons you’d be much freer and more independent which contributes to greater fulfilment and productivity

  • Suitability to vulnerable persons: telecommuting offers a plausible alternative for the disabled, physically handicapped or mothers who may find it difficult to cope with traditional modes of working and it is the only way they can be co-opted into gainful employment


Tips for telecommuters:

Working from home opens up a range of possibilities for the way business can work and structure themselves. As well as opportunities, home working brings new responsibilities for the employer and employee. Such as flexible working regulations. Working from home is good on so many levels, not having to commute saves money and time and can make you happier. However, there are many challenges, here are 10 tips to help!

  1. Identify a plan – create a daily plan of tasks which need to be completed by the end of the day

  2. Use the Cloud – log in from anywhere and never worry about having files with you

  3. Regular Routine – get dressed, shower, and act as if you were going into the office

  4. Leave the house – leaving the house separates work and personal time, even if it’s going to work in a coffee shop

  5. Enjoy flexibility – focus wavering? Take a break, go for a walk, help to get the creative juices flowing

  6. Comfortable office – a comfortable environment with a comfortable chair means you’re more inclined to stay working, therefore you’ll be more productive

  7. Google+ hangout – not always possible to meet in person if working all over google+ is great for 10 people – similar to Skype

  8. Working hours – post hours on your door, pretend you’re not at home, don’t answer the door, introduce a traffic light system for family members

  9. Meet in person – ensure to meet in person every few months – for kinaesthetic learning, white boarding ideas

  10. Check in with boss – check in with the boss and co-workers throughout the day, emailing/calling

Document management systems:

Using document management systems can help employees who work from home and employees in the office share documents. A DMS enables documents to be stored in an electric filing cabinet. Therefore employees can use documents at the same time from different locations, meaning telecommuting employees don’t have to come into the office and search for the documents they require. Below is one of the document management systems we offer.

FileDirector:

Filedirector brings the future of company management and data distribution into today’s world. This Electronic Content Management solution shortens the time required to organise and handle documents within an enterprise, enormously. This noticeably more productive and more efficient way of working, reduces costs significantly.

Features:

  • Built-in control of ISIS and TWAIN scanners

  • Windows client or web browser access

  • Integration with the windows desktop and MS office apps

  • Audit trains, version control, and document control and document history

  • ‘Print’ documents in from any application like Sage

  • Create custom document exception reports

Thanks to its extensive range of functions, FileDirector meets all of your document management requirements — today and tomorrow. Ease of use, scalability and a wealth of expandable components make FileDirector the perfect partner for businesses of all sizes.

  1. Scan & Upload: capturing information is a very quick process using FileDirector. Scanning was never easier, using pre-definable scan profiles. FileDirector records electronic documents as flexibly and quickly as paper documents. The particular format and source are not an issue and thanks to the included integration with Microsoft Office, you and your staff can archive documents, tables and emails with a simple mouse-click

  2. Sort & Index: indexing and sorting documents is handled manually or via OCR (Optical Character Recognition) zones in the document, via full text or barcodes. Index data can be imported via ODBC from other databases or files, or transferred automatically when importing or recording.

  3. Search & Retrieve: FileDirector leaves you free to decide how to conduct your keyword search. You can use the fined index fields to search for information you need, either within an entire filing cabinet or within a given document types. You can also use full text search to locate the documents you need via their content.

Benefits:

  • Centralise important business information

  • Secure your documents and share only with approved users

  • Capture information from scanned documents

  • Create custom approval workflows

  • Make documents accessible to customers

The benefits of an intelligent document management system are self-evident, for instance, of the improved efficiency: documents are located, stored and distributed more quickly. What’s more, staff do not waste time or money on duplicating or distributing documents. Digitising avoids all these unnecessary steps and gives your staff more time to concentrate on the essentials. On top of this, document storage costs are reduced because a considerably smaller storage area is required.

To find out more, please contact us or call us on 01785 785 650 to chat to one of our experts.