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    26 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2008 10:49 AM by lhmesa

    Allowing employees to work from home

    netdebut Wayfarer
      Hi everyone,

      I'm new to this forum and this will be my first post of many. I started up an online company a while ago and will be launching the business soon. What I'd like to do is be able to allow my empoloyees to work from home. The advantages, to me, greatly outweighs the disadvantages.

      Such as:

      1) more time with family
      2) no traffic
      3) no uniform/clothing issues
      4) no parking problems
      5) no more being late
      6) unlimited breaks and more freedom

      There's a whole lot more and the details of achieving these without loss of productivity and the such is kept secret on my side. I just wanted to know what others may think about running a business this way. I may end up with just 5 employees to begin with but shouldn't need no more than 25 employees (world-wide) at our peak. Our revenue potential is well over $10 million a year. Is it still a good idea to stick with this plan or should I think about building offices and require people to go there to work?

      Thanks guys,
      Kevin Lam
        • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
          DomainDiva Ranger
          I manage my technology start up on http://www.basecamphq.com. We have a group in the DFW area, a group in the Huntington Beach Ca area and then web hosting and code in Angels Camp CA, 1.5 hrs from Sacremento. A central 'point' is very important, BaseCamp provides this.

          Virtual office does work. The important thing is to have accountability and project management which BaseCamp does very well at a reasonable price...get the Campfire chat module as well for online meetings that are saved so you can go back and review!

          However...facetime is soooo important. Every 3-4 months we have our face time in the DFW area and I make various trips to meet personally with code and design. If some of your team members are in one geographical location I would suggest a weekly Starbucks gathering perhaps on Friday morning...gives everyone a chance to report on the weeks business and a way to plan for the next week. You will eventually have to make the rounds and meet all team members. Schedule your face time with a global group as you need to ....but make sure that when they are hired..that you meet them fact to face...teleconference or whatever...they need to have something visual to go with.

          When you do go global you may want to consider a yearly meeting in one of the global locations....
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
              netdebut Wayfarer
              Hi Domain Diva,

              Thank you for the great advice. We are actually going to develop our own communication system but thanks for the suggestions. I can probably look there for some inspirations and if they already have what we need, then there's no need to build our own.

              I did already consider the face-to-face meetings and traveling around to meet the employees and even have those that I hire pretty close to each other so they could meet as well.

              It's funny you mention DFW, I'm originally from there and I can't wait to move back this summer. I'm actually running the company while still in the Navy. I just returned from a 6-month deployment on Sunday so it's nice to be home again.

              Thanks again,
              Kevin
            • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
              Techie Wayfarer
              My partners and I have a software company with 10 employees. We first worked from home, but as we started generating revenue we rented an office space in a top notch address for our industry. However, we continue to work from home today very productively with the exception of when we are meeting with existing or potential clients then we go into the office. The office we have is rather modest, but with access to much larger "shared" facilities such as a high tech conference room, etc. As a young company it's important that your potential clients see that the company is stable vs. "working out of your garage." this image is esp. important if you are trying to attract Fortune 500 companies as clients. Some companies maybe more opened, but others will want to visit you before signing a contract - and thus you will need an actual physical location. Depending on your industry, there could be a preferred city or even street, that gives you more prestige if you have office space there. You may want to consider that if you do opt to have a physical location.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                  netdebut Wayfarer
                  Hi Techie,

                  You've also provided a lot of great advice. Thank you for that. I think I will go ahead and get an actual office just to hold a meeting with clients and the such. I really think that's a great idea even though I plan on running my business from home as I would want all of my employees. I will probably pick out offices for them as well so they could meet with potential clients in those areas.

                  Best Regards,
                  Kevin

                  By the way, our site is http://fairadsnetwork.com - I can't wait to launch it.
                    • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                      DomainDiva Ranger
                      Kevin, I just visited your website. WOW. Being the "domaindiva' of our application I have no clue how to work the internet ad thing, but I have two marketing people that do. Your application seems to be a tool that we will be able to utilize. My email and contact info are on my profile.... lets get together when you get home with one of my salespeople.
                        • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                          netdebut Wayfarer
                          Hi Grace,

                          Technically, I'm already home (where ever my wife is, that's my home, lol). Are you talking about home in Texas? I'll still be in SC for another 7 months. Our launch would be in March and we are getting lots of partnership offers from other advertising firms and agencies. I will not be doing any type of traveling for business relationships until November. I had to turn one company in particular down, who is worth over $1 billion, because I want to already be out of the Navy, back in Texas with a home, settled in and my family are ready for me to leave the house.

                          If you are interested in using the services my business provide, all the tools are already there. Not all of our services are up and running so you are welcome to wait until we launch. If you have questions, just use the help desk and someone will get back to you in a timely manner. The FAQ and pages on the site will provide a lot of information, however, there is still a lot more that will be revealed on launch. There are some programs and systems we must get a patent before revealing so please bare with us.

                          Thanks,
                          Kevin
                    • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                      CorpCons08 Ranger

                      You know netdebut, I believe that many times allowing employees to work from home provides good morale and better work performance. You just have to keep on top of operations to make sure the job is getting done. I allow a few of my consultants to operate out of their home because we do not have a day care service, and many of them cannot afford the professional day care services in Manhattan. They do just as good a job as they would in my office location.

                       


                      CC08
                      • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                        LUCKIEST Guide
                        Netdebut, Welcome to this site. You will get great answers.
                        As DD said "
                        Virtual office does work". It is important to have a Business Plan in place and also an Employees Handbook that the employees who work from home understand and follow.
                        All of the advantages that you listed for working from home are true, as long as the work gets done..
                        As you said "productivity" is the key.
                        As you grow, you can always revive your plans and make the necessary changes.
                        Stick with this plan now, and think about building offices
                        as you need them.
                        LUCKIEST
                          • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                            netdebut Wayfarer
                            Hey Luckiest and CC08,

                            Thanks for the added advice. Yes, I will make sure there is an employee handbook and business plan, development/project management and other programs set in place to make sure productivity will still be at its peak. These are things I've thought of a long time while deployed out at sea for the past 6 months. I need to get with a business attorney and go over my plans to make sure they are all legal and legitimate before persuing.

                            I'm really excited about this and hope I am making the right choices. I am out of the Navy in about 7 months and I cannot afford to make the wrong ones. I have a wife who's due February 1st. Anything could happen, but I know I can trust my gut instincts and be successful. I just have to remind myself that if I was able to make enough money and buy a house for my parents when I was 19, I can do this. If I could advance all the way to the rank of petty officer 2nd class in the Navy without studying one bit, I can do this.

                            Thanks for all the encouragements and advice guys (and girls).

                            Sincerely,
                            Kevin Lam
                          • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                            merchant1 Newbie
                            I personally can't work from home. I tried it a few years ago and just can't get motivated. I need an office environment or be out calling on clients. I feed off of other peoples energy in the office. I guess it really depends on the person but for me it doesn't work.
                            • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                              Lighthouse24 Ranger

                              I have (and strongly encourage) employees and contractors who work from home.

                              The only thing I can add to what's already been posted is this: I lease "executive office" space in our base cities. These provide a physical address in a prestigious location, a receptionist with call/mail handling services, T1 communications, a shared conference room, and one or two private offices that are available for employees who need to meet with clients or each other.

                              We own one building and lease three more for other business purposes (e.g., assembly/production, warehouse, training center) -- but for just pure office space, I have found that when employees work from home, leverage technology, and utilize the executive offices when needed, it provides the most flexible and cost-effective solution for us.

                              Hope this helps. Best wishes.
                              • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                Ed O'Gee Adventurer
                                It all depends on what you do - if you are a technology company I would think having people work remotely is a great idea, but you'd need some office space to meet new potential clients or service existing ones. In today's global economy even the large corporations are doing this, so it is not out of the ordinary.

                                If you have people working from home your network will be key, you'll need a way to track precisely when your employees online, they will need sophisticated passwords that change often, all in an effort to protect the digital security of your company.
                                • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                  lhmesa Newbie
                                  Mr. Lam

                                  I am currently in the beginning stages of starting my own business from home...One Click Virtual Aide.
                                  What will your company specialize in? What type of employees will you be searching for? What experience/background are you seeking?

                                  I am very interested in hearing more about your business and discussing what One Click might offer to help!
                                  Look forward to hearing from you soon!

                                  Thank you,
                                  Lydia Halgren
                                  • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                    angellee Newbie
                                    I resently just moved and looking for something to do while at home with my three kids and two step children. 10,9,6,18months, and 6 months. I have been so active in my life before my children and I need that extra part in my life(the job). I want something that would benefit my children in the long run. I am always at home and on the computer when my young ones sleep or play. I think this would be a great thing for my family. I have looked into other jobs at home and I am not really sure they are for real. Please get back with me. I also have thought about opening up my own business, just dont know where to start. I grew up with my father being so great and lucky in life with his businesses. Maybe you can help me.
                                    Thank you for your time
                                    Linda Lagerquist
                                    angellee212003@verizon.net
                                    508-865-2988
                                      • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                        netdebut Wayfarer
                                        Hi Linda (and everyone else),

                                        One we have job openings, it will be announced from our site and emphasized through our website. Just a little heads-up, I will be looking for bi-lingual and enthusiastic personnel. I've already found 2 potentials. One from Malaysia and one from Costa Rica, each speaking 3 different languages. That would already allow my company to run a 24/7 customer support. I hope to have as many as 25-30 employees at our peak.

                                        So if you're interested, just stick around the site. I'm sure openings will be available throughout the year as we expand.
                                      • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                        Wingman Adventurer
                                        Hi netdebut,

                                        Just wanted to provide you with another perspective (for what it's worth)

                                        I worked from home for 2 years because my employer wanted to reduce expenses. This was the most miserable time in my tenure with the organization. I eventually left the company after 10 years of service.

                                        When you are putting together your team, be sure they are mature enough to actually work from home and ge the productivity you want. Also make sure they WANT to work from home. I preferred the ability to walk to the developer or network admin person on the project and ask them questions face to face. What would typically take about 15 minutes to discuss and resolve in person would take us days once we were each relegated to working from home. Sometimes email and voicemail just don't cut it.

                                        I would also agree with what some of the others have mentioned about meeting each person on a regular basis. You have to cultivate the team atmosphere even if everyone works in different locations.

                                        Good Luck
                                          • Re: Allowing employees to work from home
                                            netdebut Wayfarer
                                            Oh, absolutely. I agree whole-heartedly. I will make sure of all the things you mentioned are met. I'd like for them to be enthusiastic and excited to work for a company that will be fair to its users/members but also to its employees. We want them to WANT to work from home so they could enjoy the freedom of practically setting their own hours with paid vacation and all the benefits that could be offered.

                                            We're not going to twist anyone's arm in working for us, but I know I will pick the right ones. I will be requesting pictures of their home, their family so I could actually get to know the person. I will also consider their connection capabilities. If they have cable acess but could only afford dial-up, I'd pay for it. If they don't have a desk, I could buy it for them. If their computer is old, I'd buy them a new one. It all depends on their personality, drive, capabilities, experiences and a few other things I haven't thought of yet, lol.