Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, has recently brought the work/life balance and telecommuting debate to the forefront as she has mandated that all Yahoo employees must work from an office in an effort to boost productivity and collaboration. This mandate has sparked some great debate in the small business world, David Rock from the Huffington Post writes that nearly three quarters of employers allow at least some of their employees to work remotely – amounting to approximately three million people that work from home at least half the time.
While Mayer has a point, face-to-face meetings certainly have value when it comes to innovation and the sharing of ideas, but for a small business with limited capital and resources, the flexibility that telecommuting provides seems to far outweigh those benefits. There are a number of small businesses that don’t even have a formal office space – opting instead to run their businesses on a laptop at their local coffee shop saving them from shelling out rent payments.
Telecommuting allows small businesses to widen their talent pool as well. Imagine being a small business owner looking for affordable, but skilled, part time workers in Small Town, USA. By allowing that new employee to telecommute, you’d be able to hire from anywhere the world. According Rock, that employee is more likely to work longer hours too, starting earlier and working through their normal commute time.
Chances are they’ll be happier too. With the flexibility comes less stress as the hassle of the daily commute and the rigid corporate structure go out the window.
Allowing your employees to telecommute has the ability increase your productivity, increase morale, and improve your bottom line. Before implementing a telecommuting policy, though, you’ll need to be sure to set some clear expectations with your staff and maintain regular communication despite the distance.
What do you think about the telecommuting debate? Do you allow your employees to work remotely?