Merge's Blog

To motivate employees, let them telecommute (even occasionally)

On Thursday I blogged about a subject that I tend to return to every so often – low- and zero-cost ways to motivate employees – last week my suggestion was to have a career discussion.  Today I want to propose that you let them telecommute.  In other words, let them work from home; not necessarily every day, but how about once a week, or even once a month?  Heck, even a couple of times a year is hugely motivating.

Now hang on, before you jump in with your objections, I am well aware that there are some jobs in which telecommuting simply isn’t possible – can you imagine being a retail store clerk or a grocery store cashier from afar? 🙂  But … the vast majority of jobs have at least some responsibilities that can be done from a distance.  And in some cases, these tasks can be completed much more efficiently if they’re away from the daily distractions of the workplace.  With today’s technology, working from home, once a week, once a month, or even once a year is no longer as impossible as it might have once been.  Consider this – no fighting traffic or transit to get to and from work, uninterrupted time to focus and get things done, availability via a mobile device (phone or email) should an emergency occur, and clear expectations about what will get accomplished during the “telecommuting” time – do you think a few of your employees might find this motivating?  If you want to start small, why not let one employee work from home for one day on a one-time exception basis and see what you reap in terms of motivation and goodwill?  This can be your test case to see if you want to try it again.

So, are you up for this?  Why or why not?  For those of you who have already done this, what are the benefits AND the pitfalls?  And for those of you who haven’t, what’s holding you back?  Please share.

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