March 6, 2013

Telecommuting Benefits Work/Life Balance and both Employees and Employers

peopleThe second annual telecommunications survey from Staples Advantage has found that telecommuting programs benefit employers and employees by reducing both absenteeism and stress.

Over 90 percent of employees participating in the survey reported that telecommuting is good for both parties while 53 percent of decision-makers agreed that telecommuting produced more productive employees. Over the next few years, the number of regular telecommuters is expected to skyrocket 69 percent to nearly 5 million workers.

The survey indicates that employees and employers find telecommuting mutually beneficial in that: 75 percent of decision makers noted happier employees; 37 percent reported less absenteeism; and 48 percent of telecommuters said they were less stressed when working from home.

Even as workers and their employers seem to generally extol the value of telecommuting, the survey also uncovered some areas of concern including:

• 59 percent of telecommuters keep critical and sensitive information on their personal computers instead of using their organization’s backup system.

• One-third of employees say IT issues are one of biggest difficulties in telecommuting.

• 17 percent of decision makers offer furniture solutions to their telecommuting employees but only half of those offer furniture installation services.

• 48 percent of telecommuters use ergonomically incorrect furniture and technology, reducing their productivity and potentially leading to injury.

Based on its survey, Staples recommends several steps for making telecommuting programs more productive; telecommuting programs should strive to ensure easy access to email, document sharing, video conference, and instant messaging; employers should provide remote VPN capabilities for easy network access; employees need education in data backup and security best practices and; ergonomic considerations should be incorporated into furniture choices.

Read more news in Telecommuting

Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.