Research From Gartner.Com
This past summer telework has seen increased attention for two reasons:
1. The sudden peak in gas prices
2. The need to disperse workers to keep organizations running after an emergency.
A Gartner study reports that the number of global teleworkers is predicted to reach 41 million by 2008, but there exists a difference between the enthusiasm of the workforce for telecommuting and the degree to which
management will allow them to telework.
According to Gartner analysts, at least 40 percent of the work in typical medium to large companies can be done without a physical office presence, at least part of the time.
Telecommuting does not mean an employer loses control of their workers. Workers that use computer technology in the performance of their jobs can be tracked and managed remotely.
Advantages of Telecommuting:
1. Telecommuting reduces the need to build, operate and maintain costly office buildings and to burn fuel to heat or cool those buildings.
2. Telecommuting is competitively superior to forcing employees to sit in traffic.
3. Telecommuting keeps employees productive through rain, snow, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes, while office-based companies grind to a halt.
4. Telecommuting can reduce or eliminate the cost of relocating existing and new employees.
Based on more than 8 hours per week:
• Globally there will be 41.39 million people teleworking or about 1.4% of the world’s employed population by 2008
• The United States is and will be the world’s leader in telework. It is estimated that they will have about 13.25 million people teleworking or 9.9% of their employed population by 2008
• Canada will have about 1.21 million people teleworking or about 8.4% of employed Canadians by 2008
• Western Europe will have about 10.17 million people teleworking or 7% of their employed population by 2008
• Asia Pacific will have about 6.73 million people teleworking or 0.4% of their employed population by 2008
• In Japan, commuter traffic is so bad that the government has a special commission to encourage workers to stay home. They will have about 6.41 million people teleworking or about 11.1% of their employed population by 2008
• Between 2003 and 2004, the amount of employers who offered compressed workweeks rose 10%, job sharing rose by 26%, and telecommuting increased by 22%. CTA (Canadian Telework Association)
• A 2004 Catalyst Survey showed that, of those polled, 51% of women and 43% of men would like to be offered more telework options and flexibility in their work schedules. CTA
• A March 2004 survey, by the Employment Policy Foundation, found that telecommuters handled 26% more calls and brought in 43% more business than at-office workers. This study also found that 65% of current jobs are amenable to telework.
• According to a 2001 report by the Cutter Consortium LLC, the majority of Fortune 1000 firms offer some form of telework but only 1-5% of employees participate in the programs. Experts say that one of the
greatest factors contributing to this fact is the reluctance of management.
• The May 2003 Telework Survey, by The Telework Coalition, reported that 69% of those polled reported that the main reason for implementing new telework programs was “Requests from Employees” and 44% said “Financial Benefits to the Company”.
• Between 2003 and 2004, the largest increase in the number of teleworkers (57%) occurred in medium sized business (100-999 employees). ITAC (International Telework Association and Council)
• The 2004 Flexible Working Survey, by Netilla Networks, questioned commuters about telecommuting and found…
o 80% claim it would make their life less stressful,
o 74% claim it would enhance their relationship with their partner,
o 70% felt if they were trusted to work in a flexible environment their productivity would improve, and
o 67% said telework would make them more loyal to their employer.
• According to the Oct. 2001 Telework America Statistics released by ITAC, a typical teleworker works 1+ days a week away from the traditional office environment, has a college education, is 35 to 40 years
of age and married, and earns over $40,000 annually.
• The Fishwrap Telecommuting Index reported that the 19.6 million telecommuters in Jan. 2001 reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 39,000 tons of hydrocarbons; 590,000 tons of carbon monoxide; and 31,000 tons of nitrogen oxide each day they did not drive to work.
• An Oct. 2000 survey by The Gallop Organization and Opinion Research Corporation found that teleworkers have 22-45% higher productivity levels than at-office counterparts.
• July, 2002 Information Technology Association of America; Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere Report, based on a survey of 1000 registered voters, outlines the changing face of work.
Here are some of the findings:
o 54% think telecommuting would improve the quality of their lives.
o For those with a 1+ hour per day commute, this view jumps to 66%
o 36% would choose telecommuting over a pay raise
o 6% think that the quality of work would improve if they were able to telecommute.
DOMINANT MARKET ACCELERATORS – Gartner.com
The following market accelerators will influence the growth of teleworking worldwide:
• The increasing availability of high-bandwidth access to homes in the more developed industrial nations will drive the spread of new teleworking programs and the extension of teleworking programs as a result of faster
access options to a wider range of applications.
• Greater carrier and operator investment in suitable access infrastructure in the less technologically developed areas of the world.
• Increasing pressure, in terms of national and regional legislation, for businesses to offer the option of flexible working.
• Increasing pressure from employees for flexible working options to improve their effectiveness and work-life balance. Employees will put increasing pressure on companies to work at least one day a week from
• Increasing environmental pressure, both globally and nationally, to reduce congestion and pollution caused by mass commutes, coupled with the inability of transportation infrastructure to keep pace with the urban
• Reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) for equipment and services required for secure remote access to corporate networks.
• Increased availability of secure, reliable national and international managed access services from operators and service providers.
DOMINANT MARKET INHIBITORS – Gartner.com
The following are potential market inhibitors to teleworking worldwide:
• The patchy availability of broadband access as a faster and more flexible alternative to traditional dial-up remote access. This is not a universal inhibitor, but it will be an issue for those teleworkers that expect to
operate complex applications at network speeds while working from home.
Gartner Dataquest research has shown that a high proportion of teleworkers are prepared to accept some reduction in performance in exchange for the flexibility that teleworking offers. This will be of greater significance in areas where basic rate ISDN is not available as a faster dial-up alternative to traditional analog modems.
• The sluggish expansion of managed remote access services from carriers and service providers to equip and support global teleworking projects. The managed access alternative removes the need for companies to find in-house resources to support and service a potentially global teleworking staff.
• The inability of national and international carriers to finance the upgrade of existing communications infrastructure to a level that will realistically support teleworking.
• The lack of available corporate budget for remote access equipment and support.
• The reluctance of management to move from a time-based to objectivebased approach, where the individual has greater freedom but also greater responsibility for achieving set objectives. Although the
objective-based system requires greater trust between the management and teleworking staff, it can also lead to improved productivity, as the weight of personal responsibility tends to focus the mind on work.
• A lack of commitment from national governments and wider regional organizations to improve the working conditions of employees and to tackle issues of pollution and congestion. As there is nothing so enticing to businesses as a government funded or subsidized scheme, the lack of such incentives encourages reluctant managers to shelve teleworking initiatives.
GARTNER TELECOMMUTING RECOMMENDATIONS – Gartner.com
Governments that wish to tackle the issues of urban congestion, rising levels of pollution and a heedless consumption of non-renewable fuel need to provide solid financial and legislative backing to their statements of intent.
Companies that aim to provide a teleworking option —as a means to encourage a healthy work-life balance and retain key workers, for example — need to:
• Create strategies that ensure teleworking programs are set up in a controlled and secure way.
• Develop a teleworking policy that lets all teleworkers know exactly where they stand and what best practices they are expected to adhere to.
• Be clear on how to assess the achievements of a worker who is not always physically present. This is important to maintain both the ability to manage and the presence of the teleworker as an active member of the team.
• Lay down good foundations before expanding the program. This should include provision of the necessary equipment and support, working practices, management practices and a means of assessing how the
program is progressing before opening it up company-wide.
Do teleworking strategies work within your company?
Do you see teleworking options becoming more important in your company?
What is the value of teleworking?
Leave us your comments!
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!