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Use employee rewards and recognition programs to keep telecommuters connected

Employees have come to appreciate remote working opportunities, which have grown increasingly prevalent as technological advancements have made it easier for team members to connect from afar.

Some employees like to work from home in their pajamas. Others prefer non-standard schedules outside of the classic 9-to-5 day. Still more contribute to companies from out of state where they live with their families. Whatever their reasons, employees have come to appreciate remote working opportunities, which have grown increasingly prevalent as technological advancements have made it easier for team members to connect from afar. While there are some drawbacks to allowing your workforce to complete its tasks outside of the office, employee rewards and recognition programs might be able to help you turn the balance in favor of telecommuting benefits.

Telecommuting: The workplace of the future? 
Remote working arrangements are on the rise, supported by modern technology such as widely available Internet connectivity and Web-based enterprise applications. These tools enable employees to stay productive and efficient even if they're not physically connected to the corporate network and in the presence of their colleagues. 

Forbes magazine suggested that remote working could be the "wave of the future." What makes it so popular? While not everyone would choose the option, it does offer some advantages:

  • Reducing the need for office space saves businesses money on real estate and utility costs
  • Eliminating commutes lowers fuel expenses, saves time for employees, decreases pollution and assists with traffic control
  • Flexibility accommodates workers' family demands and other considerations
  • Employees can establish optimal work settings to support their productivity
  • Convenience and freedom increases job satisfaction
  • Contracted and temporary workers can offer their services without uprooting to a new location

These benefits are driving many organizations to at least offer work-from-home arrangements for particular circumstances, if not on a more regular basis for some of their employees.

Overcoming the obstacles 
Greater proportions of telecommuters can create challenges for businesses, especially for managers in charge of overseeing the performance of a dispersed team. For starters, some supervisors sometimes don't trust their workers to be productive, Mashable observed. It can also be more difficult to maintain a sense of community and a unified, value-driven company culture. 

To counter these hurdles, organizations can utilize employee reward and recognition programs to motivate and unite their workers, where ever they may be. Clear, trackable goals can help keep telecommuters on track with their workloads, even if they're not under the eye of their supervisors. Objectives can also be tailored around company values and missions to reinforce attributes that can easily get lost when employees stay away from the office. Additionally, tactics such as peer recognition can keep distant team members in touch with each other and forge stronger coworker relationships.

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