Telecommuting

Telecommuting allows employees to work from home via computer/modem/ fax and telephone. Also called teleworking, this option is not suitable for all types of businesses, but can work well for those with a high percentage of employees who spend the majority of their time in the office, using the computer and phone on a regular basis.

By instituting a telecommuting policy, companies not only help reduce SOV travel to the work site, they can also save on office space and overhead. And employers can gain in productivity: studies have shown that employees who telecommute are more likely to fulfill their workday time commitments and take fewer sick days. Offering this type of flexibility can also increase employee retention and attract new employees.

Companies must determine which positions and which employees are eligible, as well as how frequently each employee can exercise this option (e.g. several full days a week or a few hours each day). Special considerations include:

  • Job function: Is the employee needed “in person” to accomplish his/her responsibilities?
  • Need for personal Interaction: Can the employee interact effectively with others by remote?
  • Need for supervision: Does the employee require direct, personal supervision in his/her duties?
  • Accommodations: Can the employee’s home accommodate the necessary equipment?

ALTERNATE WORK SCHEDULES

FLEXTIME

Flextime allows employees to alter their arrival and departure times slightly to accommodate commute schedules. For example, although official office hours may be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., employees may be allowed to arrive between 7:30 to 9 a.m. and leave between 4 and 5:30 p.m. In most cases employees cannot flex their schedule on a daily basis, but must make a long-term commitment to a regular schedule. The type of program selected will have a lot to do with the size of your company or worksite and the general corporate atmosphere of your workplace.

COMPRESSED WORK WEEK

Compressed work weeks help reduce the number of SOVs arriving to the worksite during the week in a way different from flextime. This option allows employees to condense the hours they work into fewer days, thus increasing the length of the work day, but decreasing the number of days spent at the work site.

The most common condensed work week combinations are:

  • 4/40 — 4 days/10 hours per day
  • 3/36 — 3 days/12 hours per day
  • 9/80 — 9 nine-hour days in a two-week, 40-hour period (work 5, off 2, work 4, off 3)

Employers can choose to either close their offices on the day(s) off, or keep offices open every day but have fewer people arriving each day. This option can be implemented year-round, or seasonally (great for summer). Vehicle travel is reduced in one of two ways: either there are no vehicles arriving on the day(s) the office is not operating, or there are fewer vehicles overall arriving on a daily basis. When this option is implemented on a staggered schedule, employers need fewer parking spaces overall and, when initiated on a fixed schedule (all employees work the same days), employers often see lower utility bills. Employees also appreciate longer weekends and adjusted vacation schedules.