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program] full force’ if they’ve never had any-
thing in place before because people need to
change mindsets, which is a cultural shift, and
that doesn’t happen overnight,” says Stanley.
“More organizations are seeing validity in flex-
ible work arrangements and telework, and
once they see there is some success — and that
from two surveys — a survey of 537 employers
on their workplace flexibility arrangements and
a survey of 1,002 employees on teleworking.
Telecommuters report more happiness
Want more productive employees? Send them home. According to a recent survey from
Staples Advantage, 86% of telecommuters say they are more productive in their home
office. They also say their stress levels have dropped 25% on average since working from
home, while 73% report they eat healthier when working from home.
Without the trek to the office — on average, a 75-mile round-trip for the survey’s 140
respondents — 76% of telecommuters are more willing to put in extra time on work and
say they are more loyal to their company since they started telecommuting. More than
80% say they now maintain a better work-life balance.
Other findings from the survey include:
• The majority (96%) relies on email to stay connected to the office, while 68% use
instant messaging and 44% use videoconferencing.
• More than two-thirds of telecommuters surveyed said they didn’t receive any IT secu-
rity training in preparation for home office work.
• Nearly one in three say they never back up their data.
Those surveyed were so happy with their telecommuting arrangement that 40% said they
would take a pay cut rather than stop working from home.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
some of the biases they had in terms of face
time or people taking advantage of it don’t ring
true — then they start to feel more comfortable
with it and open it up a bit more.”
In a new survey question this year, employ-
ees were asked whether, in their organizations,
being allowed to work remotely is considered
more of a right or a reward. Nearly one in three
viewed it as a reward or employee benefit.
“Employees perceive it as a benefit because
it is being offered to them as part of that to-
tal rewards package,” says Stanley. “From an
employer standpoint — if you’re offering it in
a formal, policy-driven way — it is more of a
The Telework 2011 research combines data
She suggests managers and employees
negotiate a business deal. “If it comes from
an employee, they should have in place the
business reason for why it’s good for the busi-
ness and how it benefits the employer,” she
says. “Don’t just say, ‘It’s going to benefit me
as an employee because gas prices are astro-
nomical.’ That may be true but, on the other
hand, add to that how it’s going to benefit the
If an employee is able to build a business
case that is either positive or neutral, then the
business should look at it, says Stanley. Start
small with a pilot program and “keep feeding
information to senior management so it starts
to grow.” —A.D.
Quality of Life
YouTube video poses important
By Kelley M. Butler
work-life ‘what ifs’
Imagine that your company was hir- ing for one of its most crucial posi- tions. What if the best employee for
• Could only work 25 hours a week?
• Lived in Des Moines?
• Spent winters in Florida?
• Had an elderly parent at home?
Would you opt for second best? Or
would you make it work?
Those are the tough but tactical
questions being asked of benefits professionals in a You Tube video produced
by Life Meets Work, a workforce consultancy that helps organizations create
flexible workplaces that maximize productivity and attract top talent. LMW’s
clients include Sara Lee, McDonald’s
and the Department of Labor.
Last year, LMW partnered with Corporate Voices for Working Families to
launch an awareness campaign on the
positive business and employee benefits of workplace flexibility.
The campaign, launched at the
White House at the first-ever Forum
on Workplace Flexibility, will encourage businesses to become “Business
Champions” for flexibility by signing
a Statement of Support for Expanding
Workplace Flexibility and expressing
support for flexibility principles in their
Sign the Statement of Support for
Expanding Workplace Flexibility
at www.corporatevoices.org/our-work/flexcampaign. View LMW’s
You Tube video at www.youtube.
own organizations and in the wider
“Life Meets Work is excited to be a
part of the national workplace flexibility
challenge,” says Kyra Cavanaugh, LMW
president, urging employers to “move
beyond policy to make flex a living,
breathing part of their culture. This is a
critical step to destigmatizing work-life
as a soft, gender-specific issue and moving it to the realm of critical business
strategy where it belongs.”
Answering the following questions
may help your employees determine
whether they are prepared to complete a flexible work arrangement
• Can you demonstrate that you have
taken responsibility and ownership
of your work-life issues?
• Can you clearly define your per-
sonal/family needs objectively?
• Can you identify potential work
problems or obstacles related to
your request and think of ways to
• Can you exhibit as much flexibility
as you are asking of your management, fellow staff members and
the management team at your
• Can you develop a reasonable plan
for completing your work during a
flexible work arrangement?
• Can you be actively involved in
each step of the decision-making
For the full list of questions, visit the
Alliance for Work-Life Progress website at www.awlp.org and download
the free Flexible Work Arrangement
Self Assessment Questionnaire.
Employers interested in joining the
campaign can sign the Statement of
Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility, committing to four principles:
1. Actively communicate the business imperative for workplace flexibility.
2. Expand flexibility within their own
organizations as a tool to advance business results.
3. Support managers in strengthening skills for managing flexibility.
4. Build workplaces in which flexibility is broadly and equitably implemented and available to employees at