If you haven’t had someone on your staff ask to work from home yet, you will. With work/life balance at the top of employees’ wish lists, many companies are embracing this trend to attract and retain good workers. But not every situation is well suited to this arrangement. How can you determine if allowing an employee to work from home is a good idea?

Is the position one that lends itself to working remotely?

With the technology available today, telecommuting is a viable option for many jobs – but not all. If the nature of the position requires a great deal of interaction with clients or coworkers or the necessity to attend or run frequent meetings for example, working on site is more realistic than trying to operate from home.

Is this employee a good fit for a work at home situation?

While some people find that working from home increases their productivity, others learn that having the constant distraction of household chores or the lure of television or internet surfing competes with their ability to focus. Consider whether this employee will be able to succeed without the structure and supervision that a workplace environment provides.

Is the technology in place for the job to be done successfully?

In order for the employee to do his or her job, the appropriate tools must be in place. Who will provide and maintain a laptop? Will internet or phone service be your expense or theirs? Who will troubleshoot the inevitable problems that come with technology? Before allowing a position to be done remotely, make sure you and the employee are on the same page regarding these issues.

Can you maintain communication and connection with your at home employee?

The advantage of having staff on site is the inherent face time it provides– allowing you to quickly talk about projects, problems and develop a sense of team among employees. With a remote worker, it may take some extra effort on both your parts to ensure that the positive relationship you’ve established in the workplace is maintained.

Is a work at home situation doable for both you and your employee? Testing the waters by starting with one or two days a week can allow you both to see how the arrangement will function. Studies show that staff who have the flexibility to work remotely often report higher job satisfaction, increased loyalty to their company and even rate the benefits of working from home over pay raises. With these potential advantages, allowing the option to work from home could be a win-win for everyone involved.

Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. Currently she is the editor at Midwest Parenting Publications, which produces four parenting magazines: Indy’s Child, Hamilton County Family, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent.

 

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