If you do not employ any telecommuters or virtual employees currently, you might be confused about the feasible jobs that could be done in a virtual work environment. Here is how you can decide what portions of your business activities could be done virtually:
Review essential job functions:
Identify the duties and tasks that are fundamental to performing a specific job. Job duties that cannot be performed outside the workplace might act as an obstacle. For example, jobs like face-to-face customer service, cashiers, manufacturing jobs, etc., cannot be performed outside of the workplace. But, in many other jobs some or all of the duties can be performed from off-site location.
Considerations in determining the feasibility of working from home:
- Would you be able to supervise the employee adequately?
- Do you and the employee have the requisite technology in place for easy online collaboration?
- Do the duties require use of certain equipment or tools that cannot be replicated at home?
- Is there a need for face-to-face interaction and coordination with other employees or clients?
- Would the employee need frequent/urgent access to documents or information located only at workplace?
- Is there a security concern or intellectual property threat related to accessing official files from remote locations?
- Does the employee have proper infrastructure and working environment at home like high-speed internet connection, proper phone line, etc? If the employee needs to be on the phone, then ensure that there are no other noise like kids, dogs, etc., that might hinder while communicating with the clients.
Some jobs that are great for telecommuting:
Tasks that are primarily done on computers and/or phone are great for virtual workers. These include back-office administration, recruitment, financial accounting and bookkeeping, online marketing, website designing, customer support, phone answering, email answering, live chat, documentation, secondary research, marketing and sales, etc.
If required, set an optimum mix:
The period of time that an employee can telecommute and the time that he spends in office can be defined based on the job requirements. For some people, that may mean one day a week, two half-days, or every day for a particular period. For example, an employee may need to meet face-to-face with clients as part of a job, but other tasks may involve reviewing documents and writing reports. Clearly, the meetings must be done in the workplace, but the employee may be able to review documents and write reports from home. An optimum mix of both could be implemented so that the needs of the employer as well as employees are met.