More and more employees are putting in a full day's work without ever leaving the comfort of their home, new research shows.
More than 35 percent of the chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed said the number of work-from-home and other remote-work opportunities at their companies has increased in the last three years, and just 3 percent said they've seen a decline, according to a study from the staffing firm Accountemps.
Employees like the flexibility of working remotely, but employers are also seeing a variety of benefits. The study revealed that 35 percent of the executives surveyed see higher employee morale and greater retention rates as the primary advantages of offering remote-work options, and 28 percent said the best aspect is an increase in productivity by eliminating commute time.
Other benefits employers cite include the ability to save money on office space and gaining access to a broader talent pool when hiring.
Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps, said employee preferences for "anytime, anywhere" work arrangements are hard to ignore. [Remote Workers Viewed as More Productive ]
"Although telecommuting isn't suitable for every role, it can be a powerful incentive for employees who want greater flexibility," Driscoll said in a statement. "It offers other advantages to businesses, such as greater productivity, cost savings on office space, the ability to tap into talent in different geographical areas and time zones, and more around-the-clock client service."
Accountemps offered several tips for employers thinking about setting up a remote workforce:
- Create guidelines:In addition to establishing which positions are eligible for telecommuting, employers need to set some other requirements for employees to be considered for these roles. Examples of these prerequisites include a positive performance record and a proven ability to work with little or no supervision.
- Set expectations:Make sure remote employees understand all of the program's rules, such as the need to be accessible during certain times or that they must keep similar hours as their in-office co-workers.
- Stay in touch:While email may be convenient in some instances, hearing an employee's voice over the phone or seeing his or her face in a videoconference makes for better communication. Using these communication tools helps to ensure that remote workers don't get lost in the shuffle.
- Highlight the opportunity:In order to get the full benefits of a telecommuting program, employers need to promote it to not only existing staff, but to job candidates as well. Not doing so can hurt your chances of both recruiting the best job candidates and retaining your top employees.
- Ensure security: Because remote employees aren't working from the confines of a secure office, employers must make sure that these workers are trained in company security practices, such as maintaining virus protection, keeping software updated and safeguarding confidential information.
The study was based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.