Peter Thiel: Telecommuting a Solution to Rising Transportation and Housing Costs

American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel discusses the advantages of telecommuting in cities. Transportation and housing costs in large cities are growing and unsustainable. Thiel sees telecommuting as one viable solution to rising costs, traffic jams, commuter delays, and environmental pollution from vehicles. 

Thiel believes that telecommuting has suffered from the largely  incorrect assuption that telecommuters don’t work as hard. He suggests that new modes of telecommuting are developing than can be more efficient in the near future.

Telecommute Now – How to Get Quick Approval to Work from Home

So your company does not even have a telecommuting policy, but your really want to work from home. Never fear, this webinar shows how a few simple strategies has helped a good number of people convince their boss to allow them to telecommute. It may seem like you have to change the company’s policy to get what you want and that seems pretty dauting – but this is not always true. In many instances your firm does not have to change or create a policy. It’s just you who wants to work from home after all. 
 

Here are a number of strategies that you can deftly use to convince your manager to let you telecommute. There are convincing arguments you can use. After all, telecommuting has huge benefits for companies, advantages that have been proven though numerous studies. So don’t feel bad about asking for something that will benefit all concerned, if your boss knows you care about the welfare of the company, he or she will be obliged to listen to you.

Survey: Most Companies Lack a Telecommuting Policy. Here’s How to Get Yours Started.

A new report from Upwork, a freelancing website, found that while nearly two-thirds of companies have remote workers, less than half have a telecommuting policy.

This actually makes sense, because a lot of the time telecommuting start informally. Someone asks if they can work from home for a period of time, a manager says yes, and nothing is ever formalized. Then everybody sees the first person working from home and other people start asking and getting approvals.

This is all fine and good until a problem happens and you don’t have a policy in place. Sure, the best thing is if you have only responsible employees who are completely trustworthy, but that doesn’t always happen. You’ll end up with someone who says, “You didn’t say I couldn’t homeschool my children during the workday!” 

So, you need a policy. There isn’t a perfect policy for every business, of course. You have different needs and different clients, but here are five things you need to consider.

While you can and should certainly carve out an exception for a sick child, you need a policy that states that all children are either off-site in daycare or school, or have an onsite carer–whether that be your spouse or a babysitter. Some people think that an advantage of working from home is reduced daycare expenses, but you still need people to do their job and young children need someone watching them.

Of course, you need to be flexible–when a child is sick and can’t be sent to school or daycare, of course, your employee can combine work and child care. When an employee’s spouse, who normally does child care, wants to run out while the baby is sleeping, that should be allowed as well. But, there needs to be regular child care. Period.

This, of course, varies greatly from company to company and even job to job within the same company. Are your remote workers expected to start work precisely at 8:30 and take a 30-minute lunch break at noon, and then work up until 5:00? Or is it okay if they start at 5:30 am, take a 3-hour break from 11:00 to 2:00 and then come back to work? Or do you not care at all what hours they work as long as they get the work done?

Some companies institute core hours when everyone must be reachable and available but allow people to control the rest of their schedules. Some companies require that you be in communication at all times during the business day. Whatever works for your business is fine, but be clear. If you’re unclear, people will do things you don’t like, and then you have to talk with them about it and it can cause conflict and hurt feelings. Just start from the beginning saying, “this is how it is.” 

Does the company provide all the equipment? I’m not just talking about computers and smartphones. I’m talking desks, chairs, filing cabinets, headsets, pens, printers, and anything else your employee needs to do her job.

Lots of companies like telecommuting because they don’t have to pay for office space for all employees, but you should consider whether or not you’ll provide office equipment. And then how do you ensure you get it back should the employee quit or be fired? 

If you provide a printer, can the family use the printer or is work only? Can the employee use the company provided computer to write her novel? This is always an issue with BYOD, but when an employee works at home, it can further blur the line between work equipment and personal equipment.

Is it okay for your employee to work at the kitchen table? Does she need dedicated office space with a door that can be closed and locked? Does it need to be locked when the employee isn’t there? If not, how do you ensure data confidentiality?

If the employee exclusively works from home, can she move? How far from the office? Must she stay in the same state? Have less than a two-hour commute to the office? Can she move to a different country and keep her job? If she moves away, who pays for trips to the office, including transportation and hotel costs, when there is a mandatory onsite meeting?

How Are Telecommuting Arrangements Made?

Is there a formal approval process? If so, who does the approval? Is temporary telecommuting allowed with the manager’s approval but a permanent situation requires higher level approval? Is full-time remote work allowed, or only a few days per week? How many days per week is a “few”? Two? Three?

Obviously, some of these things are very job dependent, so you’ll need to consider departmental discretion, but all these things need to be dealt with before an employee starts to work from home on a regular basis. Otherwise, things can fall apart.

Source

https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/survey-most-companies-lack-a-telecommuting-policy-heres-how-to-get-yours-started.html

Telecommuting Rises 115%

If it seems that telecommuting, or virtual work, is more popular than ever, it’s not hard to see why: a new report from Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) and FlexJobs shows that it has grown by 115% in the past decade.

And it shows no signs of slowing. In fact, GWA also reports that 50% of the US workforce holds a job compatible with at least partial teleworking, and that 80 to 90% of the workforce would like to work remotely at least part-time.

Part of the reason stems from the fact that 80% of married millennials have a dual-income household that leaves little time for recreation – so any time gained by working from home is attractive. In fact, as millennials make up more of the workforce, employers are using flex work to attract top talent that might balk at the idea of having to go to an office every day of the week.

Key elements of virtual team building

As more companies embrace virtual work, however, they discover that many of the benefits outlined by GWA fail to materialize, and that their teams exhibit a number of negative characteristics outlined in a Forbes report:

GWA Benefits of Virtual Teams

  • Employers can save $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year
  • Half-time telecommuters gain 11 days back per year – time they would have spent commuting
  • Absenteeism decrease of 31% with half-time telecommuting
  • Increase in productivity and morale
  • Increase in loyalty to employer
  • Organizational agility
  • Improved work-life balance

Forbes Challenges of Virtual Teams

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Low levels of trust
  • Miscommunication and cultural clashes
  • Loss of team spirit

As GWA notes, it is only “well-executed programs” that can help employers achieve the desired benefits.

Keys to managing virtual teams

The question for today’s employers is this: Are you ready to transition from a face-to-face model to a virtual one? To help answer that question, consider the following:

  1. Working virtually means more than taking a laptop home – it requires a culture change that embraces digital workflow and communications tools that maximize productivity and teamwork across distances.
  2. Well-executed virtual teams take the time to learn communications strategies and techniques that build trust and camaraderie without ever being in the same room.
  3. Effective virtual teams have well-defined processes, accountabilities and methodologies that streamline and simplify workflow.

In short, simply offering flex work may get the employees you want in the door, but without investing in the skills and processes that make virtual teams perform, those same employees may not deliver the results you expect or stick around for long.

A great way to set your virtual teams up for success start is with an assessment from Virtual Team Builders. Your business can thrive in a virtual, telecommuting world – and we can help.

Source

http://virtualteambuilders.com/telecommuting-rises-115-in-past-decade/