This week is the first annual National Telework Week, a week dedicated to individuals that work outside of the traditional office environment. As someone who works from home and a strong advocate of workshifting, I’m really excited about the focus being given to the benefits of telework.
Some folks call it telecommuting, others call it flexible work arrangements. Regardless of the name, it’s about being mobile, virtual and still getting the job done. Which isn’t always easy. Having an adequate home office, carrying the right tools when you travel, and being disciplined all come into the picture.
A successful telework program can bring huge benefits. The Telework Research Network has a web-based savings calculator that shows companies can save over $6,500/annually per once-a-week teleworker. Their research projects that, if the 41 million Americans with telework compatible jobs worked from home just one day this week, the U.S. savings could total $772 million. Not to mention the close to half billion tons of greenhouse gas that would be spared in the un-commutes.
I can only think it’s this kind of savings that prompted President Obama to sign into law the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 as well as the reason 82 of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for offer telework. It just makes good business sense (or even cents – ha!).
If you’re looking for more resources about telework, here are a couple to get you started:
Workshifting is a blog devoted to news and resources about telework. It’s powered by Citrix Online – provider of one of the most well-known flexible work tools out there – GoToMeeting. One of the things I like about the Workshifting site is the content focuses on both companies and individuals. Not only do organizations need education and information but so do the individuals who will be working in a new and different environment. I’m honored to be a part of the writing team for this site.
The Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute have just announced a multi-year partnership called Moving Work Forward. The initiative seeks to provide workplace flexibility resources in an effort to help businesses become more competitive.
Years ago, telework was a utopia. A nice-to-have employee benefit. In today’s work environment, telework is much more than that. It’s essential for businesses to be competitive – both in terms of profitability as well as employee satisfaction. Does your company offer a telework option or are you considering it? Share your story in the comments below.