Even as major companies like Yahoo, Best Buy and Hewlett-Packard have cut telecommuting options in the last year, the number of businesses allowing employees to work remotely is on the rise, new research finds.
In a study by staffing services firm The Creative Group, one-third of advertising and marketing executives said the percentage of their creative staff working remotely today is higher than three years ago. Just 4 percent of those surveyed said the percentage of their employees working off-site is lower.
Those surveyed cited gaining access to talent outside of their geography and improving morale as the greatest benefits of offering remote working options to employees. A remote working program can also be an effective and economical recruitment and retention tool, said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. [8 Amazing Job Benefits That Keep Employees Happy]
"Still, working off-site isn't without challenges," Domeyer said. "When employees are collaborating from diverse locations, everyone needs to step up their communications game."
As more and more business consider telecommuting options, The Creative Group offers five questions for employers to ask when establishing a remote working program:
- Is my business ready? New companies or those in a state of transition may want to limit remote work arrangements. The same goes for firms already experiencing internal communication struggles.
- What jobs are best suited for remote working arrangements? Certain tasks, such as graphic design or copywriting, lend themselves more easily to telecommuting than others, like those that require face-to-face contact or ongoing access to equipment and materials.
- How frequently should staff work off-site? In-person interactions build camaraderie and boost creative output. Consider limiting remote work to one or two days a week. Encourage staff members who live far away to make office visits on occasion.
- How will you stay in touch? Collaboration tools like Skype and instant messaging can keep distant colleagues connected. A centralized calendar noting where employees will be working also helps ensure projects flow smoothly.
- Have I taken all necessary steps? Before instituting any new work-policy, check with your human resources representative or legal counsel.
The study was based on surveys of 200 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees, and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.