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Telecommuting Good For Businesses, Creates Longer Work Weeks For Employees

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 1/14/2013

New study shows that in general, telecommuting employees work longer hours than employees who work in the office.

Advances in technology and the changing shape of the American workplace have made many small business owners more aware of telecommuting advantages for employers. But a new study by University of Texas researcher Jennifer Glass may further incentivize small business employers to give telecommuting a shot.

Small Business Telecommuting Study

According to Glass's research, telecommuters (defined as anyone who works one or more hours each week offsite) report that they have added five to seven hours to their typical forty-hour workweeks.

With approximately 24 percent of Americans currently telecommuting at least part of the week, work-from-home scenarios have been thought to help workers achieve a better work-life balance. But the current research suggests that this may not be true for all remote workers -- especially those that find themselves working significantly longer hours than they did when they were in the office.

For small business owners, longer workweeks deliver increased productivity as well as other well-known benefits already associated with telecommuting, e.g. reduced workspace requirements and the ability to tap into the skills of geographically dispersed workers.

Although telecommuting isn't practical for all workers or workplaces, small business employers can leverage telecommuting as a way to reduce costs and provide more flexible work options to their employees. But before you take the plunge into telecommuting, there are several issues that need to be considered:

  • Technology. To avoid disruptions, it's important to make sure that workers have the technology in place to support remote work processes before you green light telecommuting for some or all of your workforce.
  • Communication. Successful remote work scenarios hinge on keeping a telecommuting workforce part of the team. By leveraging technology, relationship building and occasional in-office face time, it's possible to maintain a team dynamic among geographically dispersed workers.
  • Accountability. It's critical to establish clear expectations and telecommuting policies. Although you can't look over remote workers' shoulders, employers can and should monitor telecommuters' deliverables and periodically review ways to improve remote work arrangements.

 

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