The Loop

Work Is Not a Noun; It's a Verb

by Fickewirth Benefits Advisors
Filed under: Benefits

telecommuting manDuring the economic recession, many organizations went through great pains to cut costsincluding permitting employees to conduct all or part of their work week at home in order to reduce onsite expenses. Global Workplace Analytics reports that half-time, home-based work could save employers over $10,000 per employee per year as a result of increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism, and reduced turnover. It also points out that employees themselves could save $1,600-$6,800 a year and a total of 15 days in time they spent commuting.

This cost-cutting initiative very likely sped up the progression of telecommuting, a phenomenon that was already starting to weave its way into corporate America. Hence, "work" is no longer a place you go; it's what you do. And many people now do it from home, on the road, in coffee shops, libraries, airports, and any place else they need to be.

The added advantage of telecommuting is that it is one of the more coveted employee benefits sought by job candidates today. In addition to health insurance benefits and a competitive compensation plan, new recruits are seeking flexible work-life balance benefits that complement the lifestyle they want to lead. Another key consideration is that working from home is considered a "reasonable accommodation" by the American Disabilities Act. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 316,000 disabled employees regularly work from home.

As for whether this workshift initiative enhances job performance, a WorldatWork study found that companies offering a strong culture of flexibility had a lower rate of voluntary turnover and higher employee satisfaction, motivation and engagement. Citrix Research reports that about one third of "knowledge workers" work from home, and 83 percent of companies will have adopted some form of mobile workstyle program by 2014. Citrix also reports that:

  • Mobile workstations have reduced unscheduled absences by 63 percent – if an employee is set up to work from home, he can work while a sick child is home from school or even if he himself is sick
  • 80 percent of companies with mobile workstyles have experienced cost-related benefits
  • 90 percent of workers who enjoy flexible work styles are happier – which can lead to higher engagement, productivity, loyalty and less turnover
  • Employers that offer flexible workstyle programs have half the turnover rate of those that don't
  • 72 percent of job candidates will choose employers with flexible benefits over those that don't
  • Thanks to less spending on commuting and work wear, the average telecommuter saves about $4,500 a year

Who makes a good mobile workstyle employee? Global Workplace observes that the typical telecommuter is 49 years old, college educated, and a salaried non-union employee in a management or professional role. 75 percent of employees who work from home earn more than $65,000 and tend to work for larger employers. The firm projects that the number of regular telecommuters will total 4.9 million by 2016 – a 69 percent increase from today's level.

In recent years, work-life balance benefits have become more ubiquitous among compensation and benefit packages, significantly changing employer practices, policies, programs, and employee benefit plans as a result. These trends indicate that, when it comes to employee benefits, people want to be viewed and treated as people – not workers. People with complex family lives, competing priorities, and multiple demands on their time. Time has become a more precious commodity than money, and something candidates may be willing to negotiate for less compensation.

Work is what people do. It's not who they are. The most coveted job candidates today are likely to choose employers that recognize this by offering flexible mobile workstyle benefits.

The Loop Archives

Open All | Close All

Health Care Reform
Training & Leadership Development
Performance Management
Attraction & Retention

Request More Info


RSS Subscribe via RSS

Join Our Newsletter

Thank you for subscribing.