Many people assume that telecommuting greatly benefits employees while leaving employers barely satisfied. It is employees who get to avoid rush hour traffic, wear whatever they like and work at their own convenient time. However, employers also get to benefit immensely when they don’t have to pay for office space, utility bills, janitorial staff, stationery, and equipment. Studies made in countries that have embraced the option show that telecommuting contribute significantly to a company’s savings.
According to a recent article on Forbes, one in five Americans works from home. The article predicts a rise in that number due to an increased number of employers adopting the option and employees showing preference. In other African countries like Kenya and South Africa, employers are slowly introducing the option of telecommuting, which is becoming a more feasible alternative to beating rush hour traffic daily.
Because telecommuting is a fairly new concept to the Ghanaian job scene, it could be introduced as an option where workers decide whether or not to show up physically while still delivering on time. This should give the employer ample time and data to decide on whether or not to go all out on the idea of telecommute. This will likely test an employer’s performance measurement parameters, to see if that is what actually drives performance or whether it is effective at all. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but the employer has more pros and cons to look at.
Telecommute by its nature means that not showing up can’t be used as an excuse for nonperformance because the employee doesn’t have to be physically present for work to get done. Even though it is argued that telecommute means employees may never get work done, a number of studies including a recent one by Stanford University have shown that remote employees are more productive than their colleagues in the office. They do not have to spend time in lengthy commute or endure chatty colleagues so they can start their day early and do more work.
Hire the best talent across the globe
Working in an office means that all staff should live within reasonable distance from the office. It also means that an employer has to strategically site his office close to where he can find the best talent. Telecommuting provides an endless pool to hire talents from all across which means that an employer is sure to find the best people without having to pay for their relocation.
The risk of privacy and security in uncontrolled environments
A disadvantage of allowing workers to access company data across different networks is the possibility of a breach which could lead to sensitive information falling into wrong hands. Managing sensitive information one a singular network within a controlled environment is already a difficult feat. Allowing staff to access information on the go requires extra measures to be put in place in order to ensure data security. An employer must therefore find a way to secure data before exploring the option of telecommuting.
A recent poll taken by Jobberman Ghana on social media to gauge the readiness of Ghanaian employees to telecommute shows that inasmuch as more than half of respondents were ready to telecommute for 10% less pay, they had fears. Many cited unreliable power and internet services as a possible hindrance to working remotely. They commented about employers’ willingness to provide alternative power in the office when the national grid fails but bemoaned the inability of individuals to match up.
In conclusion, telecommute seems like a viable option for employers in Ghana, especially because a number of companies have already started it and are thriving. An employer may want to consider the pros and cons and devise an employee evaluation strategy that thrives on performance and milestones instead of using presence and number of hours spent on the premises.