Telecommuting is a great way to retain employees and bring in new recruits, according to a study by the Government Business Council. The report found that 74 percent of employees and 56 percent of managers would telecommute more often if it were possible. However, many people said that telecommuting can take some of the communications out of usual operating procedures, because many people do not take advantage of the different options for speaking with others who are also doing telework. For example, the use of videoconferencing and screen sharing are still not common enough that working from home is functionally the same as working from the office.
Additionally, telecommuting can present technical problems, such as the ones faced by the U.S. Post Office, which suffered a breach related to its employee database, according to USA Today. The organization believes that this will offer greater Internet security because hackers will not be able to use passwords and other information to break into the telecommunications networks used by those who choose to work from home.
The U.S. Postal Service is unique because it offers cubicle space to everyone who works from home, so that no one is required to telecommute to work. Other government organizations offer online-only jobs that do not have physical space in an office to work from.
Millennials expect telecommuting options
Human Resources Executive Online reported that many young people who are beginning work have started to expect telecommunication as a matter of course. Many businesses and government offices have began offering expanded options for people who want to telework one or more days a week. Some companies limit the number of days people can telework, while others allow people to do their jobs remotely as long as they still perform the necessary duties that cannot be done from home, such as attend meetings outside the office.
Even with teleworking as an option for some positions, it is absolutely OK to say that it cannot be done for certain jobs that require people to be in the office every day. Even so, it's better to split jobs by categories as to whether someone can telecommute to them or not, versus completely rule out doing work from home at all, according to George Jakabcin, who works with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
"It's OK to say certain positions are not telework eligible," he said. "But don't use that as a crutch to say no to telework (at all)."
Having an employee management system that supports telecommuting without subjecting the company to the risk of data breaches is probably the best approach to offering telework for millennials.