Telework programs as good as cold hard cash, survey says

By Denise Dubie, Network World |  Career, telecommuting

Companies offering telework programs not only will find their employees more productive, but also happier because of the money they are able to save by working from home at least part of the time, according to a recent survey.

The U.S. Unified Communications Survey, sponsored by Mitel and conducted by Zoomerang Market Research in August, shows that nearly 60% of 821 American white collar workers polled save at least US$25 per month on fuel costs by working at home. Another 25% reported saving more than $100 per month by performing their jobs outside of the office.

"High fuel costs are leading many companies to create teleworking programs that put more money in employee's pockets without increasing their salaries," said Doug Michaelides, vice president of global marketing at Mitel.

Yet fuel prices aren't the only drivers for employers looking to offer employees a more flexible work environment. Separate research released in August from WorldatWork shows that telework programs grew in the United States from 30% of organizations saying they offered it to employees in 2007 to 42% facilitating programs this year. And 64% of the teleworkers said they are more productive and produce better quality work when allowed to do their jobs from a location other than the office, according to Mitel's survey results.

The survey results also show that more than 90% of those polled feel that teleworking is a good or great idea, and 22% admitted they would reevaluate their current positions if their employer didn't offer a telework program. And 42% responded that companies looking to attract, hire and retain talent should implement telework programs as an option for employees.

"When you factor in productivity and the role of teleworking in recruitment and retention, it's pretty easy to make an ROI case," Michaelides said.

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