The Federal Government staged National Telework Week in November in a bid to highlight the benefits of working from home, for both businesses and employees.

Teleworking or telecommuting is a work arrangement whereby an employee is able to work from home one or two days per week instead of commuting to the office.

Flexible working arrangements are gaining momentum in Australia and teleworking is becoming increasingly popular.

With any new work agreement, businesses need to weigh up the positives and negatives and see whether this fits in with their company structure.

Positives

Expanded supply of skilled labour

Both businesses in the city and in regional centres may benefit from teleworking as it allows them to select employees from a larger geographical pool, giving them the best candidate for the job regardless of the postcode.

Keeping employees loyal

By offering the option of telecommuting, business owners are able to offer flexibility to their staff, giving employees with busy home lives an incentive to stay on in the business, thereby retaining valuable staff for longer.

Saves on costs

Companies can also save on office overheads if they have one or many of their team working from home, which means smaller offices and cheaper rent and electricity and so on.

Environmental

Many businesses may wish to keep their impact on the environment minimal. For them, teleworking ensures their employees are driving less to work, using less fuel and having a smaller impact on the environment.

Negatives

Lack of productivity

Companies may be wary of how productive employees may be at home, when faced with numerous distractions such as family, food and television.

Communication

Some business owners may find it is harder to communicate with their employees at home, even if they host regular skype meetings and email conversations.  For some nothing beats face to face contact.

Fostering office culture

The office culture and team environment may suffer if key members are not there on a daily basis to collaborate and communicate with other employees.

Extra organisation and administration

Businesses may also find teleworking adds to their administration paperwork by having to set up online timesheets, and answering endless emails and calls.