Telework Survey Reveals Unexpected Results
Washington D.C. In an online survey of Washington area businesses, three out of four respondents (74%) classified their telecommute / telework programs as successful or very successful. One in four (23%) had a neutral opinion and a remarkably low 3% viewed their programs as unsuccessful. John Veihmeyer, Chair of the Greater Washington Board of Trade's Transportation Demand Management Subcommittee that sponsored the survey, said, “This survey helps confirm what we have suspected all along, -- that the adoption of telecommuting is a `must have' business strategy. Through our own experiences at the BOT we can testify to that”, he added.
“We had not expected the success rate to be so high. This helps to vindicate what we have been promoting all along,” said John Edwards, Managing Director of the Telework Coalition. “Employers with no telecommuting programs should now realize that the chance of program failure is very low,” he observed.
Another unexpected finding is that `Requests from Employees' (69%) is the main reason why telecommuting programs are implemented. `Financial Benefits to the Company' rated 2nd at 44%. “In this difficult phase in the business cycle, we had expected these to be reversed,” commented Chuck Wilsker, Executive Director of the Telework Coalition and Chair of the Board of Trade's Telework Task Force. “Maybe our traffic congestion and a desire for personal safety have caused these requests,” he added.
Surprisingly, 44% of employers provide financial support to their telecommuters to pay for High-Speed Internet access. This ranks 2nd behind a computer (90%), and ahead of a printer (38%) and an extra phone line (31%). The expectation had been that such support of high-speed access would be ranked below providing an extra phone line.
Additionally, 89% of respondents believed that greater availability of high-speed Internet access would help their teleworkers. “This is a strong indication of just how crucial employers regard high-speed access as an enabler of their telecommuting programs,” said Gary Arlen, President of Arlen Communications and Advisory Board member of the Coalition.
Additionally, 89% of respondents believed that greater availability of high-speed Internet access would help their teleworkers. "This underscores the great value of broadband service in today's economy," said Gary Arlen, President of Arlen Communications Inc., a Bethesda research firm and a member of the Coalition's Advisory Board. "Employers recognize the crucial importance of high-speed access as an enabler of their telecommuting programs."
Interestingly, of the respondents with no telecommuters / teleworkers, all said that they have employees, who work at home either, before they leave for the office, in the evening, or over the weekend. It is believed that this situation presents the same potential risks as informal programs do. These are defined as, those without any employer / employee agreements, in addressing issues such as OSHA, IPR, FLSA, security, asset tracking etc. “I would be very uncomfortable if we had such a program - the potential risk management exposure would be unacceptable,” observed Christine Kallivokas, VP of Operations at the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
The top three benefits to their bottom lines, stated by employers with programs, were `Higher Workforce Morale' (91%), `Improved Productivity' (78%), and, not surprisingly, the fact that having the ability to telework / telecommute `Provides an Essential Component of Operational Continuity Planning' (76%). Additionally, Over half (55%) sited a `Reduced Need for Office Space' as a benefit.
The full report, including a section on the 17% of employers with no telecommuters, can be found at www.TelCoa.org.