Nowadays, telecommuting is on everyone’s mind. Either because of the social concern due to the coronavirus pandemic, or as a general solution many companies are opting for based on recent health recommendations. The fact is that working from home has great advantages for both society and businesses alike.
However, before the coronavirus outbreak, health concerns in the workplace did not stop many employees from working in the office. Are we in need of implementing a new cultural shift and form of work?
Based on this scenario, telecommuting seems to be the most viable solution in the world of business. This can become a great cultural experiment in which we will be able to analyze how teams work remotely outside of central offices. This will likely confirm the premises of many studies carried out in recent years, stating that telecommuting is capable of increasing productivity, among many other advantages.
It’s now time to consider new ways to work and escape the tendency to follow the norm. We can now evolve thanks to telecommuting.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting is a way for work tasks to be carried out remotely by using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Its origin dates back to the 1970s in the United States as a result of the oil crisis, when it was essential for the companies to reduce costs. Later on, the unique benefits offered by working remotely had begun to gain momentum.
These days, particularly in Spain, the percentage of employed people who telecommute is 4.3%, as compared to the European average of 5.2%, according to a study carried out by Eurostat in 2018. Nevertheless, in the rest of Europe, telecommuting is much more common, with the highest percentages in Germany (5%), Portugal (6.1%) and France (6.6%).
These data results are extremely surprising since Spain has a great technological infrastructure and a situation that allows working from home to be quite easy. In 2020, statistics show that 91.4% of Spanish households have internet and that 100% of businesses also have Internet access. 81% of Spanish households have at least one computer at home, and 3 out of 4 workers are provided with devices with an internet connection. In addition, Spain has the best fibre optic network in Europe, and 25 million homes have the possibility of accessing it.
Furthermore, there are innovative solutions designed to instantly and easily install telecommunications in any company, such as the telecommuting solutions provided by Fonvirtual.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting
Some of you may wonder, then why am I not working from home already? In Spain, the concept is often quite ambiguous as we are not aware of the large number of tools which are currently available on the market. More often than not, this backwardness is caused by the lack of information or legislation on the subject, or in its unpopularity when it comes to collective agreements.
However, progress in telecommunications depends on employers and their managers. Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages that telecommuting can bring to business:
What are the advantages of telecommuting for companies and their employees?
Working from home can provide many benefits to both companies and employees. On one hand, the main advantages for businesses are:
- Costs reduction
If we move each employee’s workspace from being at the office to home, there will be less need for equipment and no need to pay rent for office space. You won’t have to worry about utility bills, fancy furniture, or the purchase of computer equipment (since each employee can work with their own tools at home.) Costs will be highly reduced when you don’t need a central office space.
- Attraction and retention of talent
Companies have access to the employment of more qualified candidates as they can recruit remotely. Thus, searching for employees is not limited to the closest geographical area, and we may even establish working relationships with people who speak different languages and live in another country.
Besides, telecommuting is valued by the most stringent professionals and allows us to continue to have great employees on our team, even if they need to move elsewhere.
- Environmental benefits
Companies that choose telecommuting contribute to reducing the carbon footprint, as well as other atmospheric pollutants that cause the greenhouse effects or climate change. This is due to the reduced number of trips to the office, reduced energy consumption, wasting less paper, among other things.
This is essential if you want to increase your company’s level of corporate responsibility, which will also lead to a higher reputation and a better corporate image.
On the other hand, employees can also experience great benefits such as:
- Flexible working hours
Flexible schedules is a great incentive for employees. Employers can ensure that the times employees choose to work, they are actually productive. During this time, they are not thinking about other responsibilities or not focused on the task at hand because they are too tired to work. Instead, they choose the time they are most focused and awake to conquer what’s ahead.
- Work-life balance
Telecommuting and flexible hours give employees the opportunity to improve their living standards, both at work and with family.
- Integration of disabled employees
Telecommuting makes it possible to hire brilliant reduced mobility employees, who could find it difficult to attend a physical workplace elsewhere. This will help improve the quality of life of the employee, as well as their health.
- Reduced absence
If an employee suffers from an injury or a common flu or cold, it will be impossible for them to make it to work. They could even be absent for a few days at a time. By switching to remote work, they can work from home easily and adjust their hours to work whenever they feel best.
- Improve employee welfare
Having the flexibility to telecommute allows employees to find balance between their work life and private life. This helps improve the employee’s quality of life as well. On one hand, employees will improve their productivity levels based on their improved welfare. On the other hand, they will also have a much more positive opinion on the company that they work for. This positivity will also spread to their family and friends..
- Increased productivity and performance
Increased productivity and performance is satisfactory to every component of the organization, and it leads to an increase of the corporate performance and productivity as a whole, which will boost sales as well as the quality of the service provided.
- Solution to adverse conflicts.
The presence of pandemics, such as the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, can cause public transportation to stop, grocery stores to empty, and more. There are many reasons why in the near future, telecommuting will be necessary and employees will be asked to work from home.
Thanks to telecommuting, the company is able to ensure the safety of its workers, without renouncing to continue with its business activity.
But… what are the disadvantages of working from home?
Many people still think that working from home has a lot of disadvantages. Among those disadvantages, here are a few:
- Difficulty to maintain the entrepreneurial culture
If all employees work from home, the working environment and the spread of the company’s culture will be almost completely eliminated, and consequently, the worker may lose the feeling of belonging in the company.
Working is also a way of socializing. But if an employee only works from home, communication between team members will be practically non-existent. Therefore, sometimes they may feel lonely, unsupported and even isolated.
- Difficulty maintaining communication between employees and departments
Relating to our previous point, employees may find it difficult to communicate with their colleagues when they are teleworking. The proximity of the office may be blurred and it might not be as easy to communicate with co-workers when they are not in front of us.
- Barriers to measuring time control
Since May 12, 2019, all national companies are required to keep a record of their employee work hours. Teleworking is a limitation to this, because employees cannot sign in when they enter the workplace. So companies have to adapt to new technologies in order to properly control the work hours of their employees.
- Obstacle to promotion
The business culture in Spain is clear: the employee who arrives at the office first and leaves the latest is the employee who is the most concerned about the company’s development. Therefore, they work the hardest and have a higher chance of getting a promotion.
However, this notion is changing in Spanish society. More employers are now concerned about meeting objectives and getting results, rather than the hours an employee is sitting down. Some jobs can be measured this way, such as call center agents.
Many of these disadvantages come from lack of experience and lack of cloud-based teleworking tools in order to solve these problems.
Which telecommuting tools help implement remote work?
Today, there are multiple tools that enhance the benefits of teleworking and reduce or even eliminate the problems that working from home can bring.
However, there’s still many people who are unaware of these advanced technologies. They believe that a system for telecommuting or working remote will never be implemented into their company. But what if we told you that you can do the same work you do in the office, but at home or anywhere in the world? We can help!
At Fonvirtual, we want your company to thrive by using the newest tools, even when employees and staff members are working from home.
At Fonvirtual we’ve implemented WebRTC technology into our business communication solutions.
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is an open-source software developed by Google that allows virtual PBX phone systems and call center software to be used on any web browser, using any internet-connected device. This means that you can make phone calls, video conferences, and more from your computer, cell phone, or tablet.
These tools store information entirely on the cloud, which allows employees to have total ubiquity. They will be able to connect to their phone network and other remote working tools from home.
Therefore, employees may work from home using these telecommunication tools at any time. No installations or fancy equipment is necessary.
Also, companies no longer have to limit themselves by hiring employees that are located in the same city. Instead, they may build an international team, so that the customer market may also be expanded.
External and internal communication: calls, chat and video
Fonvirtual’s virtual PBX and call center software solutions help with external communication, such as speaking with clients and customer care. However, it also helps improve internal communication between employees whether they work from home, at the same office or in different locations.
Employees will be able to continue receiving and making calls from the company’s landline phone number from home, and in the company’s name (without having to install or download anything). They will also be able to create video conference rooms with clients, as well as integrate WhatsApp API in the same panel of the virtual PBX. This allows you to manage your communication tools all in one place.
Business communication does not end here. Communication between employees can also be done with this same platform through internal calls, chat, sending and receiving files, three-way calling or even video conferences.
Isolation problems and communication difficulties are solved thanks to this tool.
One of the disadvantages of telecommuting often discussed by managers is that they will not be able to manage employee work schedules.
Fonvirtual’s virtual switchboard allows workers to activate and deactivate themselves, while changing their “status” in case of absence from work: not available, absent, coming back soon…
Through a company administrator panel, accessible to only a few, it will be possible to control the activation and deactivation of agents and therefore the time they have worked.
Also, statistics can be monitored, control reports of calls: issued, received, missed, attended, unattended … as well as access to the recording of them or listening in real time by the supervisor.
The integration of new tools that allow unifying the communications of the company in the same application, allows optimizing the work even from home. For example, with the integration of the virtual PBX with the CRM, all the workers will be connected to the clients’ files, events will be generated with the colleagues who have spoken with X client, etc.
Another integration is the telephone collection. Working from home is not synonymous with not being able to charge customers for services or products provided. The virtual telephone POS allows customers to pay for their purchases from the switchboard or call center.
So, should we opt for telecommuting?
The answer is yes. We have already seen the great advantages of working from home. Companies can find, besides a solution to their problems, a new concept of work.
Reality is, commuting to an office every day is a habit that is starting to lose its meaning. According to a survey, the average opinion on telecommuting in Spain is very positive. A recent study by Randstad states that almost 70% of workers in Spain would like to telecommute and cannot do so. The truth, currently 60% of professions could telecommute if they wanted to. All you need is internet access and an internet-connected devise that allows you to open up apps or web browsers.
If you are looking for a teleworking solution in your company, we can help
Teleworking is now a worldwide trend. It’s mainly due to the need that has been created due to the coronavirus health crisis around the world. Working remotely from home is seen as the solution to stop the spread of the virus among employees in the same office. Moreover, this has been recommended by the Spanish Ministry of Health just a few days ago.
Thus, one of the biggest problems faced by companies, in addition to the lack of supply and transactions, is related to their workers. The fear that a virus as infectious as the coronavirus will spread among their employees causes many firms to ask employees not to come to work. This situation makes it difficult to maintain the activity, and that is why large firms are opting for telecommuting instead.
Although Spain is not prepared for telecommunications just yet, it has become the first alternative that businesses are choosing to look at. At Fonvirtual, we want to help. The solution should be at your fingertips.
The ability to complete all of your work from home instead of an office is something that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Thanks to technology, it’s all possible today at an affordable cost. Not only does it allow businesses to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but it also helps improve the quality of life for many employees.
Telecommuting in business
As we can see, telecommuting is not just a solution for times of crisis, such as the coronavirus or any other pandemic. It is a real opportunity for any company.
Therefore, many Spanish firms are choosing to telecommute as a way to compete with top firms in their sector. That way, it allows them to gain attention, as well as gain a reputation among newer clients. Most importantly, working remotely also helps increase efficiency.
Telecommuting is an undeniable reality, which also shows a clear upward trend, as it has gained relevance in recent years. The highest amount of people telecommuting in Spain was during the years 2007-2013, which was during Spain’s last economic recession. Many companies chose remote work as a way to reduce costs.
Fonvirtual wants to make things easy. We offer complete services that will allow your employees to work from home. Thanks to video, chat, and phone call capabilities, all you need is a stable internet connection. Communicating with your clients and co-workers will be efficient. You can organize projects, control hours of operation, create your own work environment, and make decisions “at a distance.” There is an infinite amount of possibilities with the revolution of telecommunication.
Fonvirtual wants to make things easy for you by offering complete services for the inclusion of teleworking in the company. Thanks to video, chat and microphone tools, an Internet connection and a simple application, you can make effective and efficient communication possible between your workers and superiors, as well as having the possibility of organizing projects, controlling time, ensuring a pleasant work environment, making decisions “at a distance”, and a long list of other tools with which to join this revolution.