An employer’s guide to setting up work from home programs


Employees do not always need an office; work-from-home can be less expensive and more effective for small businesses. Image: Flickr / halfaloafoftofu / CC-BY

For small businesses, a location is often the biggest overhead expense. For many businesses, though, it is possible to forgo a physical location or keep a very small physical location, even with employees. Work-from-home arrangements may take a bit longer to set up, but they can benefit both the employee and the business in the end.

Social effects of working from home

For small business owners, the prospect of having an employee work from home can be intimidating. Work-from-home arrangements inherently remove an element of control, which can be scary for entrepreneurs who are used to controlling every small detail of their business. Several studies and meta-studies have found that telecommuting is good for employee morale, makes employees more productive and can be balanced to maintain good relationships for managers.

Financial effects of work-from-home arrangements

For business owners, having employees work from home can be a great move financially. The average cost of office space varies, but an 8×8 cubicle plus surrounding space usually works out to 100 to 125 square feet per employee. At $1.50 per square foot, that means an employee works out to $187.50 per month in square foot cost, plus utilities and general office upkeep. That cost doesn’t need to be paid in a work-from-home arrangement, and employers can even provide employees with high-speed internet connections for half or less of the cost. Employees will also spend less on transportation and less on commuting, a factor that may be considered a “perk” and could encourage employees to accept lower salaries.

Formalizing work-from-home

If you would like to hire a work-from-home employee or move some of your employees to a work-from-home schedule, then a formal arrangement is best. Outline your expectations, as the employer, for work performed and how hours will be tracked. Weekly or monthly in-person meetings should be scheduled, and defined check-in points for every project should be outlined.


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