Telecommuting: Companies Struggle to Implement Programs, Despite Workforce Preference




  • — January 20, 2017

    Technological advances, employee preferences, and the willingness of companies to create greater efficiencies make work-from-home the clear path of the future as the old 9-to-5 “be in the office and at your desk” model fades.


    The Benefits of Work at Home are Strong for Companies and Workers


    Telecommuting is a mode of work more companies are starting to offer to keep employees happy, often to keep them and to avoid the cost of training replacements. As recently featured on CNBC, a survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Ernst and Young found the top priorities for job seekers, after competitive pay and benefits, were flexibility and not having to work excessive overtime.


    In fact, the latest telecommuting statistics from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com show that 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce would like to telecommute at least part time. Why? Some wish to avoid long commutes, either for purposes of time or a commitment to environmental preservation by reducing their carbon footprint. Others are people who need a flexible schedule, perhaps because of kids in school or the responsibility of caring for another.


    Another GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com study synthesizing over 4,000 studies, reports and articles showed overwhelmingly that telecommuting programs improve employee satisfaction with some surprising implications of telecommuting to pay and recruiting:


    – 36% of people would choose the ability to work from home over a pay raise.


    – A poll of 1,500 technology professionals revealed that 37% would take a pay cut of 10% if they could work from home.


    – Gen Y’ers are more difficult to recruit (as reported by 56% of hiring managers) and to retain (as reported by 64% of hiring managers), but they are particularly attracted to flexible work arrangements (rating among benefits as an 8 on a 10 scale for impact on overall job satisfaction).


    Flexibility not only offers perks for the worker, but also for the employer, CNBC observed.


    “There are many benefits, starting with costs, such as real estate and overhead, as well as recruiting,” Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, told the network’s “On the Money” in an interview. Her company is an online resource for job hunters desiring flexible work schedules and currently she has roughly 34,000 listings.


    Companies Need Help Implementing Work at Home Programs


    In spite of telecommuting being the workforce’s preference and the numerous benefits telecommuting programs offer companies in terms of cost reductions, research would still suggest that companies need help making the transition to work at home. The GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com telecommuting statistics study cited earlier reported that only 2.8% of the workforce work from home at least half the time as of January 2016.


    While certainly it’s true that not all jobs can’t be done from home, a much larger percentage could. Why the disparity? A Boston College report cited obstacles like the inertia of organizational culture driving initial resistance from managers and employee “skepticism and fear.”


    Fortunately for companies, the advent of the platform economy has seen the addition of countless virtualized infrastructures which facilitate companies implementing work at home programs. Arise Virtual Solutions is great example of the impact of the platform economy to enabling home working in the customer management space. Companies leverage Arise’s cloud-based technology platform for their contact center outsourcing solution enabling them to access an on-demand network of micro call centers to provide improved quality customer experience & scheduling flexibility, reduced costs, and enhanced security.


    Work at Home: Not Just A Fad, Time to Get On Board


    As the statistics show, workforce preference overwhelmingly favors flexible working solutions, but the clear majority of organizations have been reticent to implement these programs. While organizational cultural inertia can be a hard obstacle to overcome, leveraging the expertise of third-party platform resources that facilitates the virtualization of work eases the burden of implementing a homeworking program and allows the organization to focus more on reaping the benefits of homeworking vs. exhausting resources getting over the initial hurdle of implementing the program.

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    Author: Marisol Martinez


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