Journal of Organizational Behavior

How to make telecommuting work

December 23, 2010: 9:57 AM ET

Telecommuting is a major money-saver for companies large and small, but it makes it especially challenging for coworkers to form the kind of relationships that lead to great work. Here are a few tips to bring teleworkers into the fold.

By Alexandra Levit, contributor

Nearly half of U.S.-based companies currently have employees who telework, or work from outside the office – and with good reason. Telework has the potential to save companies, communities, and employees over $600 billion a year, according to the Telework Research Network.

Even the federal government has jumped on the bandwagon. Based on the success of telecommuting at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other agencies, President Obama recently signed into law a bill aimed at increasing telework at federal agencies. Under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, agencies have 180 days to establish a policy on working outside the office and create training programs for teleworkers and telework managers. The bill is estimated to affect some 1.2 million government workers.

When managers think about allowing their employees to telecommute, they are typically concerned about actual time spent on the clock and productivity during that time. More

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