Talking 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.
- Getting Clueful: Seven Things the CIO Should Know About Telecommuting
- Employers Find Telecommuting Brings Savings Plus Productivity
- Sun, employees find big savings from Open Work telecommuting program
- What’s the advantage to telecommuting?
- Telecommuting: Getting Bosses on Board
- The Importance Of Being There
- Telecommuting for Librarians
- The Telecommuting Library Worker
- Working Virtually: Telecommuting or the Doing the Digital Dance
- The Telecommuting Trend: Is it For You?