Librarian by Day Bobbi Newman | I'm not that kind of librarian

Libraries looking to save money? Consider telecommuting!

01.13.2009 · Posted in Library Staff

working from the coffee shopTalking about the blurred line between home and work when I was writing about Twitter started me thinking about telecommuting.  Writing about the recession and it affects on libraries got me thinking about telecommuting.  Let’s talk about telecommuting, it seems to be something libraries have been slow to embrace.  Yes, I know the old standard that we sit at the reference desk all day and read books, but anyone actually working a library knows that’s not true.  Many libraries are short on space and funding and much could be done from home, at least one day a week, so why aren’t we looking more closely at telecommuting?

Given the tough economic times and the reports that show telecommuting saves employers money and increases productivity it seems a good time to point to some information about it.  Employers see savings in multiple areas and it helps to boost employee morale.

According to Business Week

Benefits of letting employees work from outside the office include keeping cars off the road, helping a company to bolster its green bona fides. But the practice can also foster employee retention, boost worker productivity, and slash real estate costs.

There are some cons too, according to this article “A Desk Too Far?: The Case for Remote Working” they include loss of face to face time and the perception by bosses and coworkers that the employee is not working or not working  hard enough.  Some of this can be overcome with a good relationship with management. Libraries considering telecommuting should have clear guidelines for staff, which positions could be preformed outside the office and which ones need to be on site.  Management should have open communication with staff about performance and productivity regularly.  Library staff should be honest with themselves about their self discipline, which aspects of their job can be preformed off site and the number of hours they can reasonably telecommute.

Yes, I know it isn’t for every workplace or every employee.  Some people are not focused enough to work efficiently from home and for some positions you need to be on site to preform your duties.  But many positions could be a combination that allow employees to telecommute a couple of days a week and be in the office the rest.

For libraries looking to save money and increase productivity (doing more with less!) this is something to consider.

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4 Responses to “Libraries looking to save money? Consider telecommuting!”

  1. In my opinion telecommuting is possible for professionals but it has to involve every employer AND Yes it can involve every Desk-worker !!!!
    .
    This means Team-Building, Training on the job, Trust and unofficial gossip to match ideas….all during Telecommuting
    .
    We can give this trough Full-time HQ Video and Audio for every employer and manager.
    Constantly seeing each other will really build a team.
    .
    Check it out at hr.telebeing in the Netherlands (nl)
    or join the linkedin group: “teleworking”
    Ruud Padt

  2. I think that once a week could be arrange in a library career, however, I don’t see it more than that. Most libraries need their employees to be in the public eye, helping them and watching over daily actions.

    Personally, my library card is mostly used online, I don’t travel to the library often, even though it is close to my home. I use their online information often because it is more up to date. Their books always seem so out of date when it comes to technology. However, nothing could ever replace a good old-fashioned day at the library once a month.

  3. It's amazing how quick IT adapted to the technological boom of the last decade in most aspects of our lives, like the mobile phone industry. I still don't understand why libraries haven't turned digital a long time ago.Jason Trianz

  4. It's amazing how quick IT adapted to the technological boom of the last decade in most aspects of our lives, like the mobile phone industry. I still don't understand why libraries haven't turned digital a long time ago.Jason Trianz

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