Survey shows telecommuting provides better work/life balance, benefits both employees and managers
Telecommuting programs make for happier employers and employees, reducing absenteeism and stress, according to the second annual telecommuting survey issued by Staples Advantage. Nearly all (93 percent) surveyed employees agree that telecommuting programs are mutually beneficial, and more than half (53 percent) of business decision makers state telecommuting leads to more productive employees.
By 2016, the number of regular telecommuters in the U.S. is expected to reach 4.9 million, which represents a 69 percent increase from the current level, according to a June 2011 report, “The State of Telework in the U.S.” from TeleworkResearchNetwork.com. Employees and employers agree that telecommuting is mutually beneficial:
- 75 percent of business decision makers notice happier employees;
- 37 percent report less absenteeism; and
- 48 percent of remote workers say they are less stressed, compared to a 25 percent drop in stress when working from home as reported in last year’s survey.
As telecommuting continues to rise, it is important for companies to think strategically about all aspects of their telecommuting programs to ensure cost savings and productivity, as well as work/life balance. “Telecommuting can help achieve balance between workplace demands and life obligations, but being successful isn’t as simple as just sending employees home with their laptops,” said Tom Heisroth, senior vice president for Staples Advantage.
Opportunity for improvement. While it’s clear that telecommuting programs benefit all parties involved, the survey pointed out areas for improvement for companies seeking to maintain high satisfaction and productivity rates with a growing at-home workforce. Most important, the survey shows that businesses should evaluate their technology and furniture offerings to improve telecommuting programs.
When it comes to support for at-home workers, the survey highlights specific areas of concern:
- 59 percent of telecommuters do not use their company’s data backup system, putting critical and sensitive information at risk.
- 33 percent of employees say dealing with IT issues is one of the most difficult aspects of working from home.
- 17 percent of business decision makers offer furniture, but only 50 percent of those respondents offer furniture installation services that can save workers time and improve productivity.
- 48 percent of telecommuters use furniture or technology that is not ergonomically adjusted for them, which can lead to discomfort, loss of productivity or injury.
Simple enhancements in these areas, such as implementing data backup and improving connectivity for IT, as well as providing cost-effective furniture solutions with easy procurement and set-up options, ensures consistent products and services for all employees. These improvements will transform the at-home work experience, making environments safe, healthy and productive.
Source: Staples Advantage; www.staplesadvantage.com.