Based in Armonk, New York, IBM has 300,000 employees worldwide. Globally,
80,000 IBM employees (26.6%) telecommute at least 1 or 2 days a week. IBM
has a clear vision of how telecommuting can work for them, and is convinced
that telecommuting will continue to grow in the company.
When IBM made the decision to introduce telecommuting in 1993, its main
objective was to cut costs by implementing a space-sharing concept. Employees
were able to reserve communal office space (hoteling) for a specific
time, and complete the rest of their work at home. This drastically reduced
the need for office space and allowed for a net saving of $56 million per
year across the company. At the end of 1994, IBM opened the door for its
entire US sales force of 10,000 employees to telecommute. Within 2 years,
it had negated the need for 2 million square feet of office space.
With high-tech workers expecting job flexibility, telecommuting has become
something of a necessity at IBM. The company finds that telecommuting improved
its ability to retain exemplary employees. A survey conducted in 1996
indicated that the companys telecommuters were the group who anticipated
staying with the company the longest and showed the greatest job
The survey also revealed that 87% of IBMs telecommuters were more to
far more productive because of telecommuting. The average IBM employees
personal productivity increased between 10 and 20% after telecommuting was
implemented. This is noteworthy given that a productivity increase of only
0.1% was enough to make the telecommuting program cost-effective! Customers
also voiced their approval for telecommuting as it allows them to see IBM
salespeople more often and receive better service.
IBM employees in Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America are also telecommuting
more often. The company plans to continue global expansion of this
beneficial work alternative.