I recently came across an article where our President called for more flexible workplaces to accommodate those also trying to raise families. Here is what he said:
“Many companies are already leading the way, embracing things like telecommuting, and flextime, and on-site childcare, and my administration is committed to supporting efforts like these. Not just by investing in paid leave programs and child care tax credits. But also by making the federal government a model for the policies we’re encouraging.”
The benefits of flexible work arrangements are huge when you think about the hours of driving time that employees can save and the breaks that could be taken at home to increase employees’ productivity. Companies also save money by decreasing office space and using telecons or video conferencing for meetings. Telecommuting saves our environment and conserves energy by getting drivers off the freeway. It also promotes safety and improves health because we aren’t rushing to work and stressing about finding the time to take care of all our responsibilities. Research clearly shows the benefits of telecommuting for increasing productivity and making employees happy.
A recent Cisco study of its telecommuting employees found that:
69% of the telecommuting employees see increased productivity
67% said that their work quality improved
80% had an improved work life.
So why aren’t more companies getting on board? I think that part of the reason is that many companies don’t completely trust their employees even though employees desire to have autonomy and flexibility. Managers want to see their employees productive, working hard and not wasting time on facebook. I think telecommuting and flexibility will be more effective when managers trust that employees will get the job done just not between the hours of 9 to 5pm.
Where I work now, we are allowed to work from home on government holidays and as necessary if an emergency comes up. Of course it is nice to have the option but I have seen first hand that it is looked down upon by others when you are not in the office. You don’t get as many work opportunities and you aren’t invited to as many meetings. Even though the benefits of flexible working relationships are huge, I really don’t see Corporate America changing anytime soon.
It is hard for me to imagine a women changing from full-time in the office to part-time in the office and still getting the same opportunities that she once had. I know this is not how it should be but I know this is what happens in today’s working world. We are making dramatic improvements with Presidential support but I think that the biggest roadblocks are the attitudes and mindsets. We need to change Corporate America so that employees have the same opportunities even though they may not always be present in the office.
Do you agree with me? Do you see telecommuting benefits and flexible work arrangements offered in your industry?
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