Telecommuting takes planning


    More local businesses should consider embracing telecommuting in their operations to attract and retain more talent, reduce their overhead expenses and increase their productivity, according to P&A Grant Thornton.

    Marivic Espano, chairperson and chief executive officer of P&A Grant Thornton said with the passage earlier this year of Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act, businesses, mostly multinationals, have adopted this scheme on a voluntary basis as the law prescribes.

    “Employers and employees must consider both the pros and cons of the arrangement and appropriately plan for it,” Espano said.

    For a start, Espano said, it may be good for companies to begin with a small group of employees, measure productivity and then roll out on a larger scale when ready.

    Telecommuting refers to working from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies.

    According to Espano, many workers welcome this development as it eliminates travel time and costs, which has significantly increased due to the worsening traffic conditions in major cities in the country.

    “By offering a work-from-home arrangement, employers may be able to entice good potential candidates to join them. For existing employees, eliminating the daily commute will keep them happy enough to stay with an employer for the long term. It allows workers greater control over their work hours and work location, she said.

    Espano said working from home can also be more productive, as employees do not have the distractions or hectic pace of an office environment.

    Eventually, telecommuting both results in savings for both employees (transport, fuel, dining out) and employers (office supplies, janitorial services, furniture etc).

    But Espano advised employers to first assess whether a telecommuting arrangement is suitable to their operations.

    As an example, telecommuting may not work for companies that deal with numerous customers who require face-to-face interaction, or for workers in factories or other employee activities that require physical supervision.

    Even where telecommuting is applicable, Espano said some factors should be considered such as technology, the need to safeguard office information, appropriate supervision and measurement of productivity.