The majority of Federal offices in D.C. have been closed due to Hurricane Sandy, which brings up the topic of telework. Our über-connected world makes it easier than ever for most employees to work from home at least part-time. Commuting can be stressful – not to mention dangerous in certain weather conditions -- as can office politics, and stress is bad for your health, so telecommuting also has health benefits. A happier, more productive employee means higher quality work and a better overall organization. Those who telework also report having a better work-life balance.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter points out in a December 2010 Harvard Business Review
column, “Remote work has underutilized potential. It should be a no-brainer enshrined in public policy. It would cut traffic congestion and air pollution, save energy, make it easier to drop kids at school or care for them at home.” Kanter doesn’t miss the health benefits of telework, either: “Workplace stress has health consequences, draining the economy in other ways even when companies show high profits.” Telecommuting enables employees to remain productive even when stuck at home because of work or sickness. While resting is a good idea if you’re sick, sometimes employees feel up to working but shouldn’t go to the office because of their cold or flu still being contagious. In conditions such as Hurricane Sandy, working from home is unequivocally the safest option. As a manager, you may be delightfully surprised to find your team is even more productive when working from home than in the office. Safety should always be a priority and giving employees the option to telework can help them stay safe in risky conditions.