But even if you don't work from home every day, telecommuting makes sense for when things go haywire. Emergencies can keep workers from going into the office. Rather than wasting time, if they've got the capability to do their work remotely, employees can still get their work done without having to fight power outages or hurricanes or snowstorms to put in their time.
Here are a few recent examples of people working from home during emergencies:
- During Hurricane Sandy, several businesses asked their employees to work from home when flooding and power outages made office work impossible. Many government agencies and businesses were still able to get their work done.
- The Baltimore-Washington DC area had a big snowstorm this year. They banned travel on city streets except for emergency vehicles and snow removal vehicles and told employees to telecommute where possible.
- A power outage in Northeast Washington made it necessary for employees of three agencies to work from home or from another site.
Not all disasters are weather-related, of course. Emergencies can range from flu outbreaks to broken heaters to server malfunctions to gas leaks to security breaches. There are plenty of unexpected things that might make it sensible for some employees or even for the whole office to stay home for a while. If you're in that situation, it's smart to have a plan in place so that if something unplanned comes along, you'll be prepared.