Telework Recruits Employees

Thanks to Ann Higgins for sending me the fun article on telework in Arizona and Virginia (Telework Helps Virginia and Arizona Recruit and Retain Employees).

Living in Ireland and working primarily with Minnesota companies and organizations, I sometimes feel as if I could be the poster child for teleworkers. So, I love to hear what people think of it.

This article waxes eloquently on the benefits:

  1. Teleworkers are more productive and need fewer days off.
  2. Telecommuting policies can help recruit younger workers, retain folks past retirement, and draw new hires from candidates without a geographic restriction.
  3. It saves money previously spent on office space.
  4. It is great for the environment as fewer people make daily commutes.

So what are the barriers?

First, management sometimes worries about supervising workers they cannot see. Getting management to telecommute was offered as a solution, which I think is great. I think you see quickly enough that you simply can’t get your work done if you don’t work. And the flip side is someone can be at the office all day and night and never work a lick. (I’m reading a jPod, a funny book by Douglas Coupland where the protagonists (IT workers at a game design company) are in the office 10 hours a day doing anything but working.) The truth is we’ve all day jobs or days like that and location doesn’t change it. Luckily we generally rebound – or move on.

The need for technology and broadband was listed as the next possible barrier. The estimated the cost for setting up a new telework employee was $7,500 and ongoing charges were $3,500. (I have to say that doesn’t seem that high to me compared to cost of setting up office space, parking, and the rest.)

Teleworkers need broadband to email, and get into various work networks but also we need the broadband and technology to support personal networks that would happen more informally if everyone was in the same office. We need video conferencing and other communication tools to building relationships and foster mentoring. I think that as those build things will get easier.

As a very remote worker I have to say that life as a teleworker has been good. Except when you’re so far away you do get lonely! Work-wise though very little has changed for me. Thanks to the fact that most government meetings (MN and US) and archived, I can view those and it’s just like being there. Thanks to Skype I can call and be called easily – I can even set up video when/if I want.

From a community perspective, making sure that the infrastructure is available (broadband) opens a whole new channel of jobs for citizens and a whole new channel for hiring for employers.

This entry was posted in Broadband Applications by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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