Human Resources: 4 Valid Concerns About Telecommuting

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When we discuss telecommuting dilemmas for businesses, we often jump to talking about management issues. But many other parts of an organization can also have valid concerns about telecommuting; one of them is the human resources department.

Here are four telecommuting concerns your human resources department may face:

  1. It’s harder to brief someone if he isn’t in the office. The HR department takes point on updating employees about insurance, internal policies and a variety of other matters. This is relatively straightforward if everyone is in the office, but with telecommuters, making arrangements to brief them can become a lot harder. Additionally, telecommuters don’t hear office news in passing or talk about a particular change around the water cooler, so it’s often necessary to make special arrangements to update employees working outside of the office.
  2. Benefits provision is more complex with a distributed workforce. Many organizations use their size to negotiate better prices for health insurance, for example, but when a team can be spread across state lines or even international borders, it’s harder to find one insurance provider who can handle everything. The same holds true for other types of benefits, too.
  3. Hiring specifically for telecommuting positions requires modification to the application process. Not only are there different skills and aptitudes that your HR department will need to find when you’re hiring for a telecommuting position, but you may also be hiring people who can’t come into the office for an interview. That can require some major changes to your organization’s application and hiring processes.
  4. If there’s a problem with an employee, you need to have a plan in place to remove their access. When your organization relies on telecommuters, the process of terminating employment isn’t just a matter of escorting them out of the building. Priority has to be placed on removing their access to your organization’s virtual systems.

Image courtesy Flickr user Mike McCune

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