Cisco Systems says: Focus on Telecommuting's Strategic Goals

Cisco Systems' Small/Medium Business Center has published a comprehensive telecommuting guide which, at the outset, makes a strong case for focusing on the strategic goals of telecommuting and maintains that a telecommuting program will have a greater probability of success if the goals of the program match the strategic goals of the enterprise, rather than focus on short-term cost reductions.
While specific strategic goals for telecommuting will vary among businesses, Cisco suggests that telecommuting can address the following strategic goals, among others, for any company:

Getting closer to customers is a competitive advantage. Telecommuting and/or remote working can enable employees to literally get closer to their customers. If employees are properly equipped to work from anywhere at any time, they could, for example set up at a customer site or at a hotel room or airport and still connect with their employer's network and database.

Working at home or from other remote sites eliminates the distractions in the office as well as unnecessary trips to and from the office, thereby helping an individual to be more productive. NOTE: Cisco stresses that companies should not establish higher performance and/or productivity standards for telecommuters vs. non-telecommuters.

Recruitment and Retention
Telecommuting is a proven weapon in the fight for talent in a competitive job market. Many companies have established telecommuting arrangements for individuals in order to recruit or retain talent. Suppose, for example, that the spouse of a valued employee is offered -- and accepts a job -- elsewhere in the country. What would you do to retain that valued employee who is going to move away with his or her spouse? One solution is to offer that employee the opportunity to keep working for you company even while residing elsewhere.

Focus on Strategic Goals
The bottom line, according to the Cisco guide is to look at telecommuting as a means of supporting your enterprise's long term strategic goals. If you do that, your telecommuting programs will be more successful.

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