Skillsoft Blog

Telecommuting for Increased Employee Engagement?

By Candy Osborne,
Senior Marketing Manager, Skillsoft

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.

Watch
the Skillsoft QuickTalk Video featuring Lynda Gratton on Organizational Transformation below.

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