Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tele-work and the Fridge Factor? It Doesn't Have to be That Way

Tele-work is becoming more in demand both in the private and public sector.
We know that one of the greatest challenges for employers is the hiring and retention of talented employees and managers.

What can organizations do to attract the right people for the right jobs, and keep them?

There are a number of solutions, some workable and some not so workable. However, because tele-work is so attractive, it is heading to the top of the current list of recruitment tools.

As we know, tele-work can take many forms but it mostly allows selected employees to work from home, or a location closer to home, one or more days a week.

Still, tele-work is not for every employee or for every work situation or for all the time.

Advantages:

  • So what are some of the advantages of tele-workable jobs?
  • It reduces stress, absenteeism and sick leave
  • It saves money both for employers and employees
  • It creates a more productive working environment
  • It increases employee satisfaction and empowerment
  • Fewer distractions mean better job performance
  • It contributes to better work-life balance
  • It helps to recruit new employees and to retain talented and older (or retired) employees
  • It improves the quality of life in communities
Some would even argue that it slows global warming and takes the pressure off transportation infrastructure. And the list goes on.

Disadvantages:

  • So what are the drawbacks?
  • isolation – reduced professional and social contact
  • teamwork more difficult
  • lack of separation between home and work
  • distractions from family
  • potential for excessive working hours
  • less awareness of changes in your organization
  • management mistrust – is the work getting done?
  • information security – loss, corruption, compromise
  • fear of being under-managed or "out of sight, out of mind"
  • co-worker jealousy – why them and not me?
  • IT infrastructure changes may be required

Fridge Factor Syndrome:

And for some the major challenge is the "fridge factor syndrome". It has been shown that tele-workers are more likely to experience the "fridge factor" than regular office workers, that is, continuous trips to the fridge while working at home.

The potential to over-work, over-eat and under-exercise all exist among tele-workers but, with a good measure of discipline, we believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Are you unsure whether or not tele-working is right for you?

Our psychologists and counsellors can help you make that decision.

L.Long, HRM Consultant
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

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