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How to Create a Strong Telecommuting Program

When browsing jobs in today’s market, you are increasingly likely to see descriptions listing telecommuting as a potential option in either a full-time or part-time capacity for the company hiring. As companies compete for top talent, a strategic telecommuting program helps companies keep a competitive edge for attracting the best talent because of increased employee productivity and high job satisfaction across teams. In a recent study, nearly 80% of job-seekers reported that the option of telecommuting increased their likelihood of applying for a job, let alone accepting an offer.

However, a successful telecommuting work program is not the easiest to implement. If you’re thinking of making telecommuting an option for current and future employees, consider these tips before implementing this option.

1. Make Clear Delineations
The first step to a harmonious relationship with your remote employees is to consider the following:

  • Of all of my company’s teams, which are the roles that can be done remotely?
  • Can this job be performed remotely, reliably, and without disruption to the companies standards, while adhering to typical deadlines, without contradicting the work ethic of all of my teams’ employees overall?
  • Can certain jobs be split between remote work and in-person work?
  • What kind of qualifications must an employee meet to be able to work from home?

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, consult the managers of each team to see what their thoughts are. If your managers are working more closely with these employees, they’ll have better oversight and ability to predict where telecommuting could be most successful on their team.

2. Discuss a Telecommuting Program With Your Legal Team
Once you have an idea of which roles are ideal for telecommuting, consult your legal team for advice to prevent issues with workers comp, overtime, and use of company property at home. If your legal department deems your telecommuting program aligned with the employment laws of your state, then you can proceed to put your plan in action.

3. Welcome Your Remote Employees Into the Social Culture of Your Company
For success with their work, it is vital to make your telecommuting employees feel like they are part of the team. Set up weekly, all-team video or phone meetings that they can join in on, create a plan with each remote employee for them to work from the office from time to time, invite them to company retreats and events, and make a particular effort to keep them looped in on company events and news across teams. Implementing these ideas will make your telecommuters feel more aligned with the mission statement and working culture of your organization.

4. Keep Equal Footing All Around
In-office and remote employees should be treated the same, with neither being favored over the other. You may want to review and refresh your telecommuting policy if you find successes or failures with the plan, particularly in regards to productivity and progress as it compares to the work being done by the in-office team.

Finally, it is essential to keep in mind that while most employees prefer the option to telecommute either mostly full-time or periodically, most remote employees miss feeling like a vital part of the team and being looped in on company news and culture. If you can implement trust-based rules and a welcome environment for your telecommuting team, you’ll likely find increased productivity, job satisfaction, and success across the board.