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Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 8 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

Once again I find myself reading emails inquiring about about a particular company's commitment to telecommuting. This nameless company made a broad announcement offering telework options for its 1200 employees. Then unexpectedly revoked the option. The concept of working from home has taken a beating during the last few years, many executives question their companies’ ability to take advantage of the wired world. This setback also throws a bit of cold water on the hopes of older workers hoping to phase into retirement.

Overall, the number of folks working from home at least one day a month was 26.2 million at the end of last year, down from 33.7 million two years earlier, according to a WorldatWork report.

Some of this decline stems from overall job losses during the economic downturn. However, a more striking result of the report was the suggestion that psychological barriers are playing a much larger role. Working at home once in a while may be seen as slacking, but few are willing to chance being viewed in that light in the tight labor market. Three-in-four employers say they embrace some form of remote workplace, which cuts their real estate costs and has other benefits. But you have to wonder if some companies aren’t just paying lip service to the value of flexible schedules. Less than 20% of employers have an established training plan for home based workers. That’s not much of an embrace.

I hear it all the time from federal workers who are growing frustrated by the lack of motivation in their supervisors to embrace flexible work options. Even though 80% of U.S. Government employees fall under the telework requirements.

One of the most striking finding was the dramatic shift in those employee who are taking advantage of home based situations. The typical telecommuter is 40 years old and has a college degree, and more likely than not is a man. Which pretty much dispels the stereotype telecommuter as a working mom juggling family and a job from home.

I am sure this will hit a note with some of you. Don't be shy, let the rest of the SOHO community hear your experiences.

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