Econintersect: Since Yahoo! has altered its telecommuniting polices, flexible working has become a hot topic. Not only do we have an infographic of the day on this subject – but also a press release from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“When major companies like Yahoo and Best Buy make notable policy changes, there is no doubt that other employers will take notice and some may even re-evaluate their policies. However, it would be misguided to assume that other companies will follow blindly without considering their own unique circumstances.” – John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas
“Flexible work arrangements come in many forms, so when designing a program to fit both business and employee needs, employers should consider all aspects of flexible arrangements, ranging from flexible work hours to the technology they make available to their telecommuting policies.” – Tonushree Mondal, Mercer’s North American Leader – Leadership & Organization Performance
Infographic by Mercer Insights
More from Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
SURVEY: MOST COMPANIES PLAN TO KEEP LETTING EMPLOYEES WORK FROM HOME
CHICAGO, March 11, 2013 – When struggling big box retailer Best Buy followed in the footsteps of Yahoo! Inc. by altering its telecommuting policies for employees, some undoubtedly concluded that there would soon be a flood of companies doing the same. However, a new survey indicates that Best Buy may be in the minority, with the overwhelming percentage of companies planning to maintain their telecommuting policies.
According to the survey, 80 percent of the 120 human resources executives polled said their companies currently offer some form of telecommuting option to employees with 97 percent of them saying there are no plans to eliminate that benefit.
The survey was conducted by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. in the days following Yahoo’s widely reported and controversial plan to bring work-at-home employees back to the office.
“When major companies like Yahoo and Best Buy make notable policy changes, there is no doubt that other employers will take notice and some may even re-evaluate their policies. However, it would be misguided to assume that other companies will follow blindly without considering their own unique circumstances,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“If a company is having success with its telecommuting program, it is unlikely to will pull the plug on it simply because Yahoo did. It is just as unlikely that a company will not implement telecommuting because Yahoo did not have success with it. No two companies are the same, so each must evaluate policies such as telecommuting based on how it will affect its customers, employees and bottom line,” he added.
The latest available statistics from the Telework Research Network indicate that 3.1 million people, not including the self-employed or unpaid volunteers, considered home to be their primary place of work in 2011. While that is up 73 percent since 2005, it still represents just 2.5 percent of U.S. nonfarm payrolls. It is estimated that as many as 64 million U.S. employees (just under 50 percent of the workforce) hold a job that is compatible with telework.
“However, just because a job is compatible with telework, does not mean the person holding that job is. Not every worker has the discipline and self-motivation to work from home on a regular basis, which makes it nearly impossible to have a blanket policy. Every manager must determine whether telecommuting will be permitted on a case-by-case basis. And, if allowed, it must be continually monitored to ensure that the quantity and quality of the employee’s output does not drop off,” said Challenger.
Most companies surveyed by Challenger did not have a blanket telecommuting policy. Less than 10 percent of employers offered telecommuting to all workers. About 40 percent offer telecommuting opportunities to some employees. Another 30 percent do not have a formal telecommuting program but permit some employees to work from home some days.
The need to examine telecommuting on a case-by-case basis was, in fact, the primary change in Best Buy’s policy shift. According to reports, Best Buy’s telecommuting policy, which had been in place since 2005, allowed any of its 4,000 non-store employees to work from home whenever they wanted without approval from a supervisor. The new policy now requires workers to get their supervisor’s okay.
“Best Buy obviously still recognizes that there is value in allowing telecommuting or it would have simply terminated the program entirely. However, the company also recognizes the need to maintain tighter control over the telecommuting workforce. Just because some workers are more productive when they work from home does not mean that every employee is,” said Challenger.
Increased productivity is one of the leading reasons for allowing employees to work from home, according to the Challenger survey. Respondents also cited the desire to help employees achieve better work-life balance. Other top reasons for telecommute included increased morale and lowering office costs.
Among the respondents who indicated that they may or already have eliminated telecommuting, the driving factors were decreased collaboration and increased animosity among those who were not permitted to telecommute.
CHALLENGER TELECOMMUTING SURVEY RESULTS
Do you offer telecommuting options to your employees?
YES, we currently offer telecommuting options to some of our employees
YES, we do not have a formal telecommuting program, but we do permit some employees to work from home some days. These are determined on a case-by-case basis.
YES, we offer telecommuting to all of our employees
NO, we do not offer any telecommuting options for employees.
Other (please specify)
If you DO offer telecommuting, are you considering eliminating that option?
If NO, are you considering implementing the option?
What is the best reason for allowing telecommuting?
Offering workers a better work/life balance
Increasing productivity by allowing workers to work from anywhere at any time
Keeping costs to office down
Helping offset long commute times
If you are considering eliminating it or it has already eliminated it, what is/was the leading factor in the decision?
It led to a decline in collaboration
Other (please specify)
It helped create animosity among those whose jobs were not suited for telecommuting
Productivity declined among those working from home
Telecommuters frequently missed key impromptu meetings
It became too difficult to manage the remote workers
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