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Has Your Employer Agreed to Allow Telecommuting? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Telecommuting Employment LawTelecommuting has grown in popularity in the last decade. This is due in part to the fact that the internet and other communication technology has made it so much easier for people to work from home. Telecommuting is a great way to allow employees freedom and flexibility, while still ensuring they are able to meet their work responsibilities.

Employees enjoy telecommuting for a variety of reasons. Those who are parents love the opportunity to telecommute because it allows them to work, but also be home when their children need them. It also makes it easier to deal with everyday emergencies, such as sick family members, household maintenance issues, and inclement weather issues.

What do you need to know if you’re an employee and your employer has offered you the opportunity to telecommute, or you’re thinking of asking if telecommuting is an option?

Telecommuting is Beneficial for Both Employers and Employees

Research shows that telecommuting has the potential to increase productivity. As long as there is an organized system in place, and employees are willing to take on the responsibility of some self-management, it’s actually possible to get more done in a workday at home than in the office.

This is due in part to the fact that many people are interrupted less at home than in the office. It might also be because some people flourish when they are given more control of their time.

Another benefit of telecommuting is it cuts down on many of the modern day concerns in the workplace.

Telecommuting can’t completely eliminate issues with harassment, but it can reduce them. And a work environment is less likely to be hostile when people are telecommuting than when they share the same workspace day in and day out.

Considering even minor issues can interfere with a person’s work day, allowing employees to work from home and focus on their work, as opposed to the interpersonal issues, makes it easier to get more accomplished.

Telecommuting also decreases costs for employers and employees. Employers can cut down on some of the overhead associated with running an office Monday through Friday for eight or more hours a day, and employees save on commuting costs and various incidental expenses, such as buying their lunch and other costs that spring up on occasion.

If you are considering approaching management about the possibility of telecommuting, be sure to share how it’s beneficial to them.

What’s Necessary for a Successful Telecommuting Program?

A successful telecommuting arrangement requires established boundaries. Employers must make it clear what’s expected of employees. The only way you can continue to do your job well when you are telecommuting is to know what’s needed from you in advance.

For instance, do employees need to have established work hours? Must they check in with a supervisor or sign into a computer system by a certain time each day? Are they considered on-call during traditional work hours?

Employers that allow employees to telecommute also need to make sure they are still adhering to legal requirements in the workplace. Though the situation might differ, they are still obligated to meet certain requirements regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and they must adhere to guidelines related to wages and hours.

To learn more about these specific employment laws, check out this information from the ADA National Network.

Telecommuting creates opportunities for businesses and employees. It’s possible to run a successful company utilizing a telecommuting program, but it takes some work.

If you have questions about your employer’s telecommuting program or you are concerned there are violations and you need to speak to an expert who understands workplace legal issues, we can help. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. for more information.

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