By Ayanna Moore
According to Global Workplace Analytics, as of September 2013, 3.3 million people worked from home at least half of the time, and from 2005 to 2012, the telecommuter population grew by 79.7%. There are an increasing number of employers who offer an option to telecommute. Global Workplace Analytics also indicates that the benefits to an employer offering telecommuting options is that it improves employee satisfaction, reduces attrition and unscheduled absences, saves employers money on overhead, increases employee empowerment and productivity, expands the talent pool, and provides new employment opportunities for the unemployed and under-employed.
Many of Generation X’ers now have elderly parents for whom they provide care to, and the option to telework gives an employee the ability to do this without having to use time-off. Additionally, it helps the employee save money that they may have otherwise spent on home health aides or nursing homes.
Generation Y typically has young children who need supervision, and the ability to work from home offers a parent the relief of knowing their child is safe, while saving money on daycare. Having young children also often means the employee will have to leave work promptly at 5:00pm to pick their children from school or daycare, which also means numerous unscheduled absences when the child is sick. Telecommuting removes those concerns and often provides the employee with the ability to work longer hours and be more productive.
For Generation Z (born 1995 to present), it’s all about mobile and digital communication. Their world has always consisted of the internet, cell phones and Skype. Being able to work from home provides this demographic the opportunity to use the technology, which they have grown up with. It also helps the employer both diversify its talent pool and stay current on the latest technology trends that Generation Z’ers are using.
So how can a job seeker find opportunities where teleworking is an option and how can a current employee negotiate the ability to telework? Most job search boards today have a search filter specifically for jobs that offer teleworking and there are also many sites created just for seekers who want to work from home. You can also do a keyword or Google search using “telecommute”, “telework” or “work from home”. When reaching out to Recruiters and Hiring Managers, don’t be afraid to ask if working from home is an option. Even if the Hiring Manager did not initially offer that possibility, if can you provide bottom-line benefits to the company and what you can bring to the table as an employee who teleworks, the Manager may be open to it. Are you an employee who suddenly finds yourself in a position where you need to work from home, even if just a few days a week? Approaching your boss to ask to work from home can be scary so be sure to do your research and come armed with how effective you can be at your job while working at home. Make sure you discuss the technology needed, your potential productivity statistics and assure that you would be consistently accessible to your manager and colleagues, and again provide the bottom-line benefits to the company.
While telecommuting may not be a viable option for some industries, many employers and employees are finding this to be more useful and beneficial. Should this be an option that you need to contemplate, consider the pros and cons not only to you as a current or potential employee but to also the company, team and manager and then present your case. You never know; you may find that instead of the daily water cooler conversations, you’re actually being productive. Teleworking is the new office.