Monday, March 17, 2014

Demolishing some of the popular myths around telecommuting

Like it or not, telecommuting is here to stay. Employers that refuse to budge when it comes to flexibility are likely to lose out on promising workers — and send some of their own top performers packing. But simply offering telecommuting options isn’t enough.  
The Flex+Strategy Group recently rolled out some new research on telecommuting, and what they found could help dismantle some popular beliefs on this increasingly popular practice — and help you improve your own telework efforts.

Stereotypes, fears & advantages

Here are four of our favorite takeaways from the study:
1. Employers need to rethink their idea of a “typical” telecommuter. There’s a prevailing stereotype of telecommuters mainly being women who are working from home in an effort to juggle the responsibilities of raising children with the demands of a career.
And that’s simply not the case. According to the study:
  • 71% of teleworkers are men, and
  • there is no significant difference between teleworkers with or without kids, or in the age groups of teleworkers.
2. Telecommuting can help with increased workloads. Ever since The Great Recession, employers have been asking workers to do more with less. In fact, the study found heavy workloads and lack of time were the main things getting in the way of a healthy work/life balance. Allowing employees to do their work when and where they see fit is a great way to lessen this burden.
3. Working remotely shouldn’t be referred to as a “perk.” Putting telecommuting in a category with things like health insurance and retirement plans gives employees the impression that working remotely is something the company is simply giving to them. Instead, try painting telecommuting as a recruiting/retention strategy — and a way to best meet the needs of the entire company.
4. Many employees are still afraid to take advantage of telecommuting. One of the best ways to improve your telecommuting program is to make sure workers understand their will be no stigma attached to those who do take advantage of it.
The study found that:
  • 21% of employees believed they’d make less money if they telecommuted
  • 16% were concerned they’d lose their jobs
  • 11% believed their peers would think they don’t work hard, and
  • 13% were worried their boss would flat-out say “No.”
source: hrmorning