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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Work-Life Balance: The Decline of Telecommuting

According to Bill Meltzer at HR Benefits Alert, the demand for telecommuting and flex-time remains high--no surprise there. But what is surprising is that companies seem to be scaling back their telecommuting and flex-time programs.

"About half of all organizations where telecommuting is feasible permit employees to work from home on a case-by-case basis," Meltzer writes, and "only about 20% to 25% of employers offer the benefit year-round." So what's going on?

Although telecommuting improves employee morale and retention, Meltzer lists three main concerns that many companies have:
  • Company culture. Building relationships can be a challenge when people don't see each other face-to-face every day.
  • Security. IT has far more control in a traditional office setting.
  • Productivity. Not everyone can tune out the many distractions at home.
While it's not possible for every job to be performed remotely, employees do have lives outside the office. It may be "simpler" for HR to force a uniform schedule on everyone, but I think a one-size-fits-all approach often ends up fitting no one.

What do you think? Is telecommuting an impossible dream for most of you?

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