29 percent would actually give up chocolate for the privilege of working from home!

smb-tech-trendsJust how much would someone give up for the privilege of working at home? Apparently quite a bit, according to a survey published early last year by TeamViewer, the online communications provider. When asked what they would give up to work from home, five percent of respondents indicated they would divorce their spouse for the privilege; another 12 percent would give up daily showers.

While those responses may have been tongue in cheek, it seems that employees are willing to make sacrifices to have flexible working arrangements. Other TeamViewer survey results indicated 34 percent would give up social media and 30 percent texting. And if that wasn’t a strong enough indication employees want to cut out the commute, consider that 29 percent would actually give up chocolate!

More evidence of the desire for flex working comes from another survey taken in September of this year. When GetVoIP posed the question about working at home to tech workers, over half – 53 percent — said they would be willing to take a pay cut to telecommute at an average of about 7.9 percent of their salary.

Make the transition to flexible working smooth

If you don’t yet have a flexible working arrangement for your small business employees and are considering one, here are some tips to make the transition successful and smooth:

  • Understand your team: Not everyone on your small business team may be suited for working at home or doing so for extended periods of time. Also, there may be some functions that require employees to be in the office on certain days or time periods. Keep these things in mind as you plan for a transition to flexible working.
  • Work together on a plan: Make the transition to flexible working a group effort. Get your small business team together to discuss objectives, expectations and work space and technology requirements. Put a plan together that addresses all of the issues with tactics for handling them.
  • Focus on communication: A big part of your planning should focus on communication. Technology such as unified communications and conferencing – audio, web and video – and document editing and sharing over cloud woman with headset on phonecomputing can make it easy to collaborate and keep in touch. Still it’s best to implement a policy for regular communication and updates so deadlines are met and employees out of the office feel integrated all the time. For example, you might want to ask employees working from home to submit a weekly status report or schedule a call with you or their manager once a week to review action items.
  • Set a timeline: Don’t expect to make an immediate switch. Set a timeline for transitioning to flexible working that takes into account equipment/technology you need to purchase and implement, having policies in place and assigning reporting responsibilities. Even after your new flexible working program is off the ground, review it periodically to make sure that things are working.

Here’s another option if you want to ‘see’ your team every day but they want to work from home. Double Robotics offers an iPad mounted robot that becomes a virtual stand-in for employees so they can have a physical presence in the office no matter where they are in the world. Check it out.