As offices move to become more agile, the option for employees to telecommute has changed from an added amenity to a commonplace practice. Global research from the International Working Group has shown that 50% of employees globally, work from home or remotely at least 2.5 days a week.
While face-to-face time with colleagues and clients is invaluable for brainstorming and building connections, the option to have a flexible workweek can deliver numerous benefits for both employees and employers. For Canadian employers who have adopted a more flexible workplan, 88% experienced business growth, 83% saw an increase in profitability, and 81% were able to reduce their real estate management costs. Canadian employees saw measurable benefits as well, with 80% seeing increases in productivity, 75% seeing an improvement in work-life balance, and 82% reporting that remote work increased their exposure to networking opportunities.
Telecommuting involves working from a remote location, usually at home, rather than travelling to the office. It can be a full-time arrangement or allowed on certain days of the week, depending on workplace demands. Telecommuting employees use computer software and phones to remain connected to colleagues and clients.
A well-designed telecommuting program can result in benefits for organizations, such as:
Telecommuting has moved beyond being a trend but rather a disruption of the traditional workplace. As Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford economist and leading researcher of the 2014 Stanford call centre study states, “The need to go into a workplace five days a week started because people had to go to a factory and make products. But companies that still treat employees like that are increasingly finding themselves at a disadvantage.”