Telework, sometimes referred to telecommuting or remote work, means working at any alternative location other than a central worksite—whether it is at home or in your neighborhood coffee shop. Teleworking is more than just answering late night emails outside of the 40-hour workweek. It is a structured manner of working so that you do not travel to a central workplace every day.
Telework programs at workplaces are on the rise as companies strive to provide additional benefits to employees and as technological advances make communication and collaboration easier between remote sites. A study conducted in December 2013 reported that almost one-third (31 percent) of full time workers in the U.S. do most of their work from a remote location.
A telework program can help your business and have a positive impact on the environment. According to the International Telework Association and Council teleworking can result in:
• A 22 percent increase in employee productivity, by minimizing distractions and allowing flexibility in schedules. Reduced employee effort and time spent in commuting means that employees have more time and energy to do the work, rather than getting to work.
• A 20 percent decrease in employee turnover. A flexible workplace raises morale and lowers employee turnover. Higher employee retention lowers recruitment, hiring and training expenses and gives companies competitive advantage when seeking top employees.
• A 60 percent decrease in employee absenteeism. Having a telework program in place allows for employees to be flexible and continue working when personal or family issues arise.
• A decreased need for parking and even office space, lowering your real estate or rent costs. Fewer employees at the office can allow for shared parking or office space or significantly less parking or office space, reducing your overall overhead costs.
Jeff Monson, executive director for Commute Options adds, “Telework programs also have a positive impact on our environment and community by reducing the number of cars on the road by and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.” In the winter, when driving conditions are often less safe for driving, the telework option allows workers to have peace of mind that they don’t have to drive to work.
A telework program does not have to mean that you never see your employees. In fact, one-three days of telework can significantly benefit a business and employees. Anne Arathoon is corporate counsel at G5 in Bend and she teleworks for a total of eight hours a week out of her 32-hour workweek. G5 provides her with access to all of the systems and software at home that she has in the office, including a laptop, necessary software and mobile Wi-Fi if she is somewhere that doesn’t have wireless Internet.
“Teleworking definitely increases my job satisfaction because it provides me a with a work/life balance I wouldn’t be able to have if I worked in the office five days a week. G5 is very accommodating and flexible to the needs of employees,” Arathoon adds.
Commute Options can provide your business with tons of resources for telework, from training kits to resources for managers.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org
Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com