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01/06/2006Companies invest in telecommuting

Over a third of companies taking part in a new benchmarking survey expect to spend more on mobile or home-office work arrangements this year, as well as increasing their population of telecommuters.

1 June 2006

AMSTERDAM—Over a third of companies taking part in a new benchmarking survey expect to spend more on mobile or home-office work arrangements this year, as well as increasing their population of telecommuters.

This is one of the main trends to emerge from Runzheimer's ongoing Total Employee Mobility management benchmarking research into companies in the US and Canada.

"Organisations are beginning to realise that telecommuting can generate savings from consolidating space, contribute to employee recruitment and retention, and help achieve continuity of operations," said Kristina Gribovskaja, Analyst with Runzheimer International.

More than one-third of benchmarking process respondents—36 percent—expected to increase their spending on telecommuting programmes, and 44 percent of respondents reported that they plan to increase their population of telecommuters in the coming year. 

"We are in a knowledge economy and should be anticipating the day when more than half of our workforce is able to function productively outside of traditional facilities," said Heidi Skatrud, Vice President, Runzheimer International.

Skatrud predicts that leading organizations in the 21st Century will have developed "effective and well-integrated employee mobility programmes, including mobile office programmes."

The survey shows that telecommuting programmes are still under development in most companies.

ROI not tracked

When participants were asked if they thought productivity was higher for their mobile office employees, defined as any employees who spend at least 50 percent of their business hours away from their traditional office space, 65 percent did not know.

Twenty-three percent of firms said they believed, or had data to substantiate that productivity was higher by an average of 23 percent. 

Most organisations manage programmes in-house

The majority of respondents said that their telecommuting programmes are managed in-house and only a fifth of organisations stated that they outsource one or more functions of such programmes.  Approximately 80 percent of organisations indicated that they planned to keep this function internal.

Ownership dispersed

The survey also shows that no single department tends to have ownership over telecommuting administration and management and that it was managed by a combination of different departments and process owners.
 
What most organisations reimburse

The majority of organisations said their mobile office employees are provided with, or reimbursed for, laptop computers and related software, cell phones, office supplies, printers, fax machines, phone cards, scanners, and postage/courier expenses.

 Less than half of all respondents reported that they provide their employees or reimburse for mobile/home office set-up allowances, desktop computers and related software, voice/data communications, and PDAs or pagers.

Security remains major concern

Security is a prominent concern for organisations with mobile workers, with 72 percent of respondents expressing concern about information and/or physical security of company assets located off-premise. 

At the same time, when asked if teleworkers who work from a home office are subject to any type of inspection of their work environment, 91 percent said "'no".

[Copyright Expatica 2006]


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