Skillsoft Blog

Telecommuting for Increased Employee Engagement?

I became aware of an article in a recent Skillsoft® Books24x7® Analyst Perspectives™ that led me to proverbially pen this post. The CIO Insight article Nine ‘Best Practices’ For Telecommuting
hits close to home for me as a telecommuter. I’m one of the 20+ million workers who spends at least one day rocking out the work day from the comfort of my home office. I state “rocking” loosely, you might be dub stepping but nonetheless, as some companies are withdrawing the work-from-home option, others are further exploring it, believing in positive impacts it has on their
employees.

At the end of the day, telecommuting isn’t just about getting to work in pajamas and blasting Cold Play on surround sound; it has a deeper positive impact on employee engagement. Here’s why.

According to Using Workplace Flexibility as a Talent Strategy, flex arrangements (those which allow employees the autonomy to control when, where and how they get their work done) can do four things:

  1. Improve employee health (through reduced stress, less germ spreading).
  2. Lower real estate costs (via reduced office space and parking fees).
  3. Ensure business continuity (when bad weather makes driving unsafe).
  4. Increase diversity and inclusion (by accommodating caregivers).

Telecommuting and flex time roll up under a bigger umbrella of work/life balance, which as we know has significant impact on overall happiness. In fact, some suggest that flex time and telecommuting be used as a recruitment tool.

If we can see an increase in happiness and engagement from telecommuting, what about productivity? In a recent scientific study, The effects of telecommuting on productivity: An experimental examination. The role of dull and creative tasks, we learn in a nutshell that telecommuting has a positive impact on productivity of creative tasks, not-so-much on dull tasks.

I don’t think this post would be fair if I didn’t address some of the cons I’ve come across. A couple include data backup and ergonomics of the furniture in the home office. It seems the pros which contribute to happier, more engaged and productive employees far outweigh the cons. And even the cons seem bite-sized enough to tackle.

Time will paint a clearer picture as to whether offering or withdrawing telecommuting has an impact on business performance. I suspect it will; to what extent, is yet to be determined.

Do you telecommute? Does your organization offer telecommuting? Do you have good or bad telecommuting experiences? Please share your stories below. Right now, it’s time for me to switch the laundry.

Watch Dr. Lynda Gratton describe an experiment which concluded telecommuters were 20% more productive than their office worker counterparts.

 

By Candy Osborne,
Senior Marketing Manager, Skillsoft

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