This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 20, 2013

Telework Provides Better Life Balance

Coming just in time to give credence to the choir of voices raised in outrage over the recent actions of Yahoo!'s CEO Mayer*, the outcomes of a recent study confirm that telework programs result in happier employees and employers.

According to the Staples Advantage** second annual telework survey, 93 percent of employers surveyed agree that telework programs are mutually beneficial. On top of that, 53 percent of business decision makers say telework leads to more productive employees.

In a recent Herman Trend Alert (, we talked about the rising importance of life-work balance and how flex-space/teleworking contributes to creating that desired state. With this study, we now have confirmation of the link. In fact, 48 percent of remote workers say they are less stressed, 75 percent of business decision makers said they notice happier employees, and 37 percent report reduced absenteeism.

We agree with Staples that in embracing telework, companies need to think strategically about all aspects of their programs to ensure cost savings and productivity as well as work-life balance. Here's why: 59 percent of teleworkers do not use their company’s data backup system, thus they place critical and sensitive company information at risk.

One-third of employees said one of the most difficult aspects of working from home is dealing with Information Technology issues. Finally, almost half (48 percent) of teleworkers use furniture or technology that is not ergonomically adjusted for them. Lack of attention to this detail can lead to discomfort, loss of productivity, or injury.

Yet we know that telecommuting, sometimes called flex place, is one of the best ways to help your employees "achieve balance between workplace demands and life obligations". However, more is involved than just saying employees may work from home.

Moreover by 2016, the number of regular teleworkers in the United States is expected to reach 4.9 million. That huge number will represent a 69 percent increase from its current level.***

Wise employers, who are not already permitting telecommuting, will give serious consideration to launching their own telework initiatives. Given the growing importance of life-work balance, this flexibility will not be optional.

* Mayer recently announced that her 600 telecommuting employees would have to begin coming into the office on a daily basis. She believes this move is necessary to return the company to profitability.

**Staples Advantage is the business-to-business division of Staples Inc.

**According to a 2011 report from

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