Online meeting or discussion using web applications. Man chatting with colleagues using laptop

Although telecommuting has become a generally accepted practice, millions more employees who would telecommute can’t because their companies don’t allow it, according to an article on the BOMI website.

There are solid reasons for telecommuting’s popularity, including facility cost reductions, potential pay incentives (many employees would accept lower wages for a quality of live upgrade) and incentives from the government to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion.

In fact, some organizations have completely abandoned housing and managing employees in the traditional way. While this means that fewer employees are physically in the office, the challenges for the facility manager are not necessarily reduced accordingly.

Challenges a telecommuting workforce brings facilities managers can include communications, OSHA and hoteling issues.

For instance, telecommuting can complicate computer and telephone connectivity issues and the routing of information. It is much easier to call a staff meeting when all employees are in the same location.
Also, telecommuting can cause confusion with OSHA issues. For instance, a dispute recently arose between OSHA and organizations using teleworkers over whether or not the organizations were responsible for OSHA compliance at the employees’ home offices.

OSHA’s initial position was that these offices were branch offices and, therefore, were subject to OSHA regulation and inspection. But eventually, OSHA decided that home offices used by telecommuters are not actually branch offices and, as such, were not subject to OSHA regulations and inspections.

Telecommuting has also brought hoteling issues to the forefront. Hoteling is the practice of putting employees to office areas that are used by different people at various times. In a hoteling situation, when an employee reports to work, he or she takes whatever space happens to be available. This can cause a management challenge for the facility manager.

The facility manager is often in charge of managing the hoteling operation. Consequently, he or she is directly responsible for scheduling and infrastructure requirements, the article said.

Read the full article.