Study: Telecommuting Now 'Just Work'

March 10, 2006 ( - While employers with telecommuting programs continue to view them as one way to save on the cost of underutilized office space, increasingly these days having employees based out of the office is seen as a business continuity issue.

That was a key conclusion of a new study released by The Telework Coalition, a Washington, DC-based trade group that encourages employers to allow workers to be based at home or some other offsite location.

According to an executive summary of the study report, employers have begun seeing telework/telecommuting efforts as a way to stay in business after an emergency since events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Recruitment and retention remains a key driver for many participating organizations, especially since flexibility is in high demand by today’s workers, researchers said. However, human resources, which has been a common point of entry for telework, played a minimal role in program development and expansion within the participating organizations, according to the study.

While all of the participating organizations contacted for the group’s study have “formal” telework programs with written policies and procedures, the organizations with the largest number of teleworkers stressed driving the decision down to the manager-employee level. Those organizations transitioning to mobility indicated that these programs are very unstructured.

“An important finding is that virtual work, mobile work, telecommuting, telework, or distributed work, whatever it is called, is now regarded as ‘Just Work.’ Most study participants emphasized the importance of the mobility that telework enables when dealing in a global economy. Whenever, and wherever the job can best be done, it gets done”, said Chuck Wilsker, coalition president & CEO, in a news release.

The employers contacted for the study represent more than 500,000 employees and almost 150,000 teleworkers and mobile workers. Interviews with their telework program managers were conducted during the last weeks of February and first week of March, 2006.

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