Telecommuting: Will it Work For My Employees?
By: Heather Legg
Things have drastically changed in the work world from the days of the 9 to 5 office hours and routine commute. We have seen shifts to four day work weeks, flexible hours and telecommuting. Is this a good route to take? Are your employees better off at home rather than glued to the office?
We have outlined some of the benefits that working from home can afford your employees and your business.
A key component to working from home is the flexibility it provides to your employees. If childcare is an issue, they can get their kids off to school, or even get their kids home from school and not disrupt work output. Their commute is no longer an issue, so employees can use that time for other things and not take away from work, or in some cases even use that time for work. Employees also don’t need to take time off if they are waiting on a delivery or for work to be done in the house.
Working at home also provides employees the capability to catch up on work at odd hours. If they need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, instead of missing out on those work hours they can catch up in the evening.
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If your employees are working from a home office, you are not paying for expensive office space, which not only includes the rent, mortgage, or a lease on the physical space, but also factor in the cost of furniture, internet, heating, air, etc. You still may need to cover their supplies and certain utilities but it is a good way to meet some financial savings.
Your employees will save money as well as benefit the environment because they will be saving on gas and emissions by avoiding a commute.
When your employees can telecommute from anywhere, you have a broader base of hiring. You can search out the best employees and no one has to make life a changing move to take the job. People can work from almost anywhere. In the case of internal meetings, if they need to be there, they can fly in for the meetings and head home when they are finished.
Employees will be happier if they don’t need to disrupt their lives, including the lives of their families.
With all the pros of working from home, don't forget there are some negatives.
- Some employees don’t like the isolation of working in a home office and can be prone to cabin fever. To avoid 'cabin fever' they can co-work at a communal workspace or a coffee shop.
- Is there too much free time to hang out on Facebook or go to the gym? Are you paying your employees to grocery shop and cook dinner? The bottom line is if the work is getting done, does it really matter? Do you see results and productivity? If so, it shouldn’t matter what’s going on. Don’t forget, people can still hang out on Facebook and waste significant time in an office.
The big question in deciding if you should offer work from home is if your employees will still be productive. Technology has made it possible for people to work from almost anywhere, and it can be a viable option for some companies.
If your employees can be happiermore productive while saving your company money – why not give a try?
About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers a variety of topics including workplace issues and small business payroll.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.