Telecommuting programs make for happier employers and employees, reducing absenteeism and stress, according to the second annual telecommuting survey issued by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc. Nearly all (93 percent) surveyed employees agree that telecommuting programs are mutually beneficial, and more than half (53 percent) of business decision makers state telecommuting leads to more productive employees.
By 2016, the number of regular telecommuters in the U.S. is expected to reach 4.9 million, which represents a 69 percent increase from the current level, according to a June 2011 report, “The State of Telework in the U.S.” from TeleworkResearchNetwork.com. Employees and employers agree that telecommuting is mutually beneficial:
- 75 percent of business decision makers notice happier employees
- 37 percent report less absenteeism
- 48 percent of remote workers say they are less stressed, compared to a 25 percent drop in stress when working from home as reported in last year's survey
As telecommuting continues to rise, it is important for companies to think strategically about all aspects of their telecommuting programs to ensure cost savings and productivity, as well as work/life balance.
Staples offers solutions for employers to help coordinate telecommuting programs that support healthy and productive environments for at-home workers. Staples solutions range from ergonomic furniture selections and technology products and services to easy online ordering and at-home delivery and set-up options.“Telecommuting can help achieve balance between workplace demands and life obligations, but being successful isn’t as simple as just sending employees home with their laptops,” said Tom Heisroth, senior vice president for Staples Advantage. “At Staples, we make it easy for businesses to set up telecommuting programs with everything employees need to be productive, including furniture, technology and office products.” Opportunity for Improvement While it’s clear that telecommuting programs benefit all parties involved, the survey pointed out areas for improvement for companies seeking to maintain high satisfaction and productivity rates with a growing at-home workforce. Most important, the survey shows that businesses should evaluate their technology and furniture offerings to improve telecommuting programs.