If you're having trouble attracting and retaining top employees, try offering them the option to telecommute.
More than 70 percent of telecommuters said being able to work from home is an important benefit when considering a new job, while 10 percent said they would take a salary reduction to keep their telecommuting benefits, according to a new study from Staples.
There are a variety of factors driving employees' desires to work from home. The research discovered that the ability to achieve a better work-life balance and save money on transportation costs are at the top of the list. In addition, 69 percent of telecommuters said the benefit has helped in reducing their stress levels, up from 48 percent in 2013.
It's not just employees who are seeing a benefit from having the option to work from home. The study revealed that 65 percent of employers who allow their workers to telecommute report happier employees, while 33 percent said they have seen a drop in absenteeism in the workplace after offering the benefit.
Paul Mullen, vice president of technology solutions for Staples Advantage, said the study clearly shows the benefits of giving employees a choice in where they work from.
"Not only does telecommuting lead to a happier work force, it's also a critical benefit to have from a recruiting standpoint," Mullen said. "Employers who are flexible and support their staff with the tools they need to telecommute have a definite recruiting advantage."
The study found employers who do offer telecommuting benefits need to do a better job of both educating employees on proper security measures and making sure they have the proper technology needed to be productive.
Specifically, only 25 percent of the employees surveyed have been trained on data backup and security best practices, while nearly 60 percent of employers report that their telecommuters have connectivity problems at least several times per month.
Staples points to several tips for employers looking to ensure a smooth and secure telecommuting experience for employees.
- Equipping the work force: With IT connectivity issues a main concern, telecommuting programs should ensure easy access to email, document sharing, instant messaging and video conferencing. Providing remote VPN capabilities to telecommuters is also important for easy network access.
- Employee actions: Having employees set up lock screens is one simple step businesses can take to ensure company data is protected.
- Added security measures: Encrypting device-side data by adding another layer of protection is important in the event an attacker manages to bypass a lock screen or finds a backdoor.
- Office design: In addition to making sure employees have a home office that allows them to be productive, employers should also consider the design of their own offices. Finalists ina recent Staples workplace design competition focused on layouts and furniture options that accommodate a more mobile work force who telecommutes occasionally, providing open spaces that allow people to move throughout an office based on their work needs.
The study was based on surveys of 125 business decision makers and 160 office workers at organizations of all sizes across the U.S. and Canada.
Originally published on Business News Daily