Virtual Office Featured Article

Technology Evolution Brings More Telecommuting

November 05, 2015
By Michelle Amodio - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

Flexibility when it comes to where employees work is on the rise, thanks to the changing technology landscape. The normal 9-5 daily grind is slowly being replaced by more telecommuting options, as employers are relying more on tools, such as Web conferencing and online collaboration solutions to allow workforces to work from home, or just about anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

Of course, telecommuting isn’t quite the norm just yet. According to survey data from Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit, co-sponsored by Citrix (News - Alert), use of these technology tools is still in the single digits. In terms of communicating with colleagues, 60 percent of respondents use email, word documents or spread sheets to communicate work progress. 55 percent still meet in person, whereas 43 percent use the phone.

Research suggests that workers without workplace flexibility would be willing to make substantial trade-offs to have access to telecommuting and/or flex hour programs; they were more satisfied and productive in the workplace when they have flexibility and control.

"Having the ability to tailor the work flexibility you need, whether it’s remote work or a shift in your schedule, to get your job done or manage your life at a particular time is more realistic than having a set change in your schedule or dedicated day to work from home,” said Cali Yost, CEO of Flex+Strategy Group, according to eWeek. “Set shifts in schedule or location don’t always work. Realities on the job and in your personal life are always changing and people are beginning to see it makes more sense to have the support, know-how and technology to work in the way that will make you the most productive on and off the job." 

Inc. Magazine found that remote workers tend to be about 10 percent less productive than their in-office colleagues when they perform repetitive work.

That said productivity soars when telecommuters are performing creative tasks. Remote workers are about 20 percent more productive when they get to think outside the box.

There are a number of potential benefits for employers when they establish well-designed telecommuting programs for their employees. A 2014 Stanford study showed that call center employees increased productivity by 13 percent when they worked from home. The University of Texas conducted a similar study and found that telecommuters worked on average, 5-to-7 hours longer than their in-office counterparts.

Employees who are able to work from home and enjoy a better work/life balance tend to feel more valued. A Pennsylvania State University study showed that telecommuters tend to be less stressed and happier than traditional office workers.

What’s more, it is estimated companies can save approximately $11,000 annually on each employee who telecommutes.

Workplace freedom and flexibility has increased greatly because of the tools available today. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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