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Recruiting great employees can be a significant undertaking, and in some industries, such as technology, many companies are finding it downright difficult.
But according to a survey conducted by Dice.com, there may be a way to find talent, and pass less for it: offer telecommuting.
The online job search provider polled nearly 950 tech professionals and found that just over a third of them would accept a 10% pay cut if given the opportunity to work full-time from home. According to Dice.com, that equates to an average $7,800 decrease in salary.
Beyond the niceties afforded by telecommuting positions, there's a good reason tech workers are willing to sacrifice for them: full-time jobs that allow telecommuting are hard to come by. On Dice.com, "Less than 1% or 500 of the total jobs posted...mention telecommuting as an option." In other words, demand far exceeds supply.
For companies looking to attract top talent, and pay less for it, the message seems clear: offer telecommuting positions.
But is that really a good idea? On paper, telecommuting offers both employers and employees some potential benefits, both in reality, these arrangements can be difficult to work with. For instance, they can complicate project management and make it harder to build a cohesive corporate culture.
Of course, telecommuting doesn't make project management impossible, and establishing a corporate culture doesn't require that every employee be present on-site every single day.
But for telecommuting to work, companies need to be strategic. That means asking the right questions before offering such opportunities. Three of the most important are:
Are we ready to support telecommuting?
Working with remote employees comes with its own set of requirements and challenges. Companies with no telecommuting experience should be prepared to meet them.
From network infrastructure to project management personnel and tools, there's a lot to cover and it's best to have everything covered before you create telecommuting positions.
How could on-site employees be impacted?
Telecommuting invariably has an impact on the employees who don't work from home. Will they have a harder time getting their jobs done if they have to deal with employees working remotely?
And is it possible that some of them will resent not having the option to telecommute themselves? Creating work from home opportunities without thinking through these sorts of things can demoralize the employees you have on-site, and in the worst cases, drive them away.
Will we really save money?
If the Dice.com survey is to be believed, companies could cut costs through telecommuting. Not only are many workers apparently willing to take a pay cut in exchange for the ability to work from home, telecommuting opens up the possibility of hiring workers in locations with lower wages.
But telecommuting can be more expensive if it reduces overall productivity, or your company is ill-equipped to ensure that employees are performing work when and how it's expected.