Dresser & Associates

Telecommuting is on the Fast Track with Businesses across the U.S.

Many companies are still struggling with the concept of telecommuting. Seasoned HR professionals have seen many ‘fads’ come and go in the business arena but telecommuting looks like it’s here to stay. In 2006, 28.7 million US workers were telecommuting either full or part time. That number is expected to rise to 100 million workers by the end of 20101 . If your company is thinking about establishing a work-from-home program, consider the following benefits:

  • Increased business flexibility – Building a telecommuting program can improve the opportunity for business continuity in the worst of times. Employees can work from home to avoid road closures, epidemic illness, or inclement weather. If there is a facility black-out or other failure, it’s no longer just the off-site sales people working to produce revenue. This can be an even bigger advantage than it first appears. In 2004, ITAC (the Telework Advisory Group for WorldatWork) reported in a study commissioned by AT&T that one in five US companies experienced a disaster that required them to shut down for a period and 43% of companies hit with severe crisis never reopen.
  • Increased productivity – Many managers mistakenly assume that workers will slack off if they are allowed to work from home. In fact, productivity studies have shown the opposite. American Express teleworkers handle 26% more calls and are 43% more productive than their office counterparts and Compaq teleworkers are between 15 and 45% more productive their coworkers in the office2. As far back as 1998 MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation) reported employees who telework, increased productivity by 27%. Boeing did an in-house case study and found that employee productivity went up 15-30% for teleworkers and “the quality of the work done has improved even more”.3
  • Reduced turnover – EKOS research reports 33% of employees surveyed would choose telecommuting over a raise and 43% of employees would quit to take a position allowing telecommuting. CIGNA experienced a 30% reduction in turnover with their Nurse Manager position once they instituted their e-work program. Turnover can be a huge corporate expense.
  • Increased profits – Utilizing telework reduces overhead in facility costs. Another money saver: decreased absenteeism. Businesses can save 63% of absenteeism costs per year by utilizing Teleworkers4. By adding together lower facility costs, reduced turnover, and increased productivity, a company could see profitability soar.
  • Demonstration of social and environmental responsibility – With the US business conscience focusing more and more on social responsibility to workers, families, communities, and the environment, telecommuting may be the right prescription. Not only does it empower employees with more flexibility and work/life balance, it also take cars off the road, thereby reducing automobile emissions.

In summary, telecommuting might well be the next big benefit. More than 65% of home teleworkers are employed by companies with fewer than 100 employees5 so don’t let your business size be a barrier. Implementation is the big hurdle in an effective telecommuting program. It will only work if you have strong strategies for implementation and on-going evaluations.

Watch for more next month on strategies for implementing a work-from-home program in your company.

Additional resources to learn more:

1WorldAtWork Telework Trendlines, The Deringer Research Group
2Colorado Telework Coalition
3Telecommute Connecticut
4ITAC 1999
5Demographcs @ www.suitecommute.com/research-and-statistics/statistics/demographic 4/9/2010

Contributed by:

Osborne Communications

Posted in Human Resources, Talent management | Comments Off on Telecommuting is on the Fast Track with Businesses across the U.S.

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