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Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Business IssueIn 1996, Sikorsky Aircraft unveiled its first telecommute program in an effort to combat changing demographics of the workforce, increases in absenteeism, tardiness and turnover, low morale and an increase in the cost of office space and overhead. However, use of the telecommuting program was very low. Insufficient management buy-in to the policy translated into a perception among employees that participating in the program would stall their careers.
Telecommuting SolutionThe Managing Flexibility for Productivity program was designed to promote acceptance of the telecommute program among both managers and employees. Defining the policy process to make the program consistent, it provided tools to prepare and analyze telecommute proposals and trained management to re-examine workplace perceptions that had previously undermined telecommuting. This new effort also included a testimonial videotape from all levels of management and an explanation of the positive impact of telecommuting on the bottom line.
Key Telecommuting ChallengeAfter incorporating feedback from the launch of a pilot program, an extensive training program was initiated for all staff. Initially, the time that company-wide training would entail seemed an obstacle to immediate implementation. Over time, however, the 10-month duration proved to be a blessing in disguise: as participation began, successes mounted and word of mouth spread about the benefits of telecommuting.
- Manufacturers Can Telecommute: There are portable elements in jobs suited for telecommuting at all employers, including manufacturers.
- 36% Male Participation: Contrary to stereotypes that telecommuting is only suited for mothers with young children, 36% of Sikorsky�s telecommuters were male.
- Attitude Change In Workforce: Telecommuting became perceived as a viable, flexible option to meet the goals of both employer and employee.
- Innovation Award: Sikorsky was awarded the 1997 Innovation Excellence Award from the Alliance of Work/Life Professionals.
- Marcia P. Ellis, formerly of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Stratford, CT