Ramon E. Rivera
October 24, 2014
New research suggests that allowing employees to work from home could actually lead to better performance. But is your New Jersey business ready to abandon the traditional office structure?
The Benefits of Telecommuting
As Reuters reports, the latest telecommuting study
surveyed more than 300 full-time employees along with their supervisors. It found that employees who telecommuted scored higher in their ability to work well with others and job dedication when evaluated by their bosses.
“We have many reasons to expect that telecommuters should work as well or better than others,” said Ravi S. Gajendran, professor of business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Interestingly, allowing telecommuting may most greatly benefit underperformers. According to the study, employees who had a good relationship with their supervisor performed equally at the office or at home. However, those who lacked a positive relationship worked harder from home, “perhaps in an attempt to make the boss realize it was a good idea to give you the perk,” Gajendran said
Minimizing the Legal Risks of Virtual Offices
While telecommuting does not work for all businesses, workers who generally sit in front of a computer can often perform all of their tasks in a home office. Below are some tips for making the arrangement work:
Talk to your legal counsel
: Allowing employees to work remotely raises a number of legal concerns, including worker’s compensation claims, data privacy and security breaches, and wage and hour compliance.
Create a policy
: It is advisable to establish a written telecommuting policy. Issues to address include job functions and positions that are eligible for telecommuting; factors to be evaluated in deciding an employee’s request to telecommute; and criteria against which telecommuting employees will be measured and held accountable.
Follow the rules
: Once you have established a policy, you need to stick with it. Bending the rules can lead to complaints of favoritism or even a discrimination lawsuit.
Keep accurate time records
: For hourly employees, it is important to outline written timekeeping procedures. Employers should also establish set working hours to make sure that employees are not working unauthorized overtime.
To learn about additional legal concerns that may arise when employees work remotely, check out “NJ Decision Highlights Telecommuting Can Pose Problems For Employers.”
If you have questions about telecommuting or would like to discuss your company’s employee policies, please contact me or the Scarinci Hollenbeck Labor and Employment attorney with whom you work.