A UC Davis researcher quoted in the article suggests there's an unconscious perception that people who are seen around the office during regular working hours are more reliable, committed, dependable than remote workers (including telecommuters and those who travel heavily). In fact, Microsoft's 'unconscious bias' training includes an example of forgetting to invite remote workers to a meeting.
The worry is that the 'not-being-seen'-bias could result in poorer performance reviews. It suggests including social time with remote workers and making sure managers judge their people by what they do, rather than their subjective feelings toward them.
RA 11165 or An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector encourages employers to adopt telecommuting - a work arrangement that allows an employee to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.
The new law does not require employers to offer telecommuting, it simply requires that if they do, they ensure they are treated no differently than other employees. It specifically mentions having appropriate training, technology, and access to colleagues and advancement opportunities. These have proven critical to the success of work-at-home programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, so it's good to see them baked into law.
Reducing traffic and improving work-life balance are the primary drivers of the telecommuting law.
Allsteel white paper points to identifies the need for a combined tactical, strategic, and business focus
"How does mobility factor into an organization’s real estate or workplace strategy within the context of increasingly collaborative work processes, an emphasis on positive workplace experiences, and new definitions of engagement and productivity? It all starts with creating your own definition of what mobility means that is aligned with the organization’s critical business goals, work processes, and culture."
The paper stresses that before embarking on a mobility program, organizations need to understand how and where people are working now, managers' attitudes toward remote work and experience with remote teams, the workspace itself and how mobility might support critical work processes and business goals. Optimal results only come when tactics, strategies, and business impacts are aligned. It ends with a useful Mobility Assessment Tool and Program Checklist.
17 Reasons you should formalize your mobile, activity-based, or unassigned desk program. Plus dozens of tips for how to do it.
New research shows strong trend toward formal workplace policies around activity-based working, unassigned desks, mobile work, and telework. Here’s what you need to know.
If you've been running your workplace program without formal policies, practices, and training, this is a must read. It's based on a new benchmarking report sponsored by IFMA's Workplace Evolutionaries.
The 'Tips' section offers dozens of must-have policies and guidelines for:
- Space usage
- Tools and Technology
- Remote or mobile workers
- And more
This study, conducted by Staples, included over 500 Canadian employees.
The report covers a wide range of topics and is well worth reading if you're interested in what's happening in Canadian work trends. It includes a surprise section on what employees want and expect from their facility managers and how they feel about their offices.
Highlights of the Facilities Management (FM) section:
- 82% of employees feel their FM plays a role in their success
- 59% say FMs are underappreciated
- 65% say the FMs role should be strategic and they should be given maximum resources to get their job done
- Only 29% of employers offer agile seating
- 38% work in open space, 38% work in semi-open space, and 23% work in mostly closed offices
- 66% spend some of their time working outside the office. Of those 48% sometime work at home and 17% sometimes work in co-working spaces
- 48% say the look and feel of the office space is a major factor in selecting an employer
Other topics covered in the study include:
- Workplace distractions
- Health and wellness
- Seasonal and vacation habits
"In our study on flexibility in the modern workforce, we set out to determine whether a gap exists between flexibility supply and demand. In other words, how many people need flexibility, and how many people actually have it? To find out, we surveyed 1,583 white-collar professionals representative of the U.S. workforce at large."
While more than 9 out of 10 professionals surveyed say they want flexibility in when and where they work, less than half have it. The study also found:
- Only 29% felt the way the worked was sustainable over time
- Only 37% felt inspired by their workspace
- Only 29% said they brought their whole self to work
Respondents without flexibility were:
- 2x more likely to quit
- 2x more likely to be dissatisfied with work
- Had employee net promoter scores 48 points lower
The study suggests a wide range of flexible work options including flexible hours, flexible location, reduced travel, and part-time work.
"The money — part of a grant program designed to draw tech workers and revitalize the state’s aging work force — is intended to help with costs like relocation, computer software and hardware, broadband access and membership in a shared professional space."
Desperate to renew its dwindling population, Vermont will pay people up to $10k (over 2 years) to establish a permanent home there. The only catch is they have to work remotely for an out of state company. Funding is limited, so grab your skies, pick your cheese, and head on over to their website.
Many of what we once considered alternative workplace strategies, have now become mainstream. Now in its fifth year, this benchmarking study was conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), Global Workplace Analytics, and Haworth Inc., and additionally supported by Workplace Evolutionaries, a community of practice within the International Facilities Management Association. Over 130 organizations representing over 2.3 million global employees responded. The results were compared to longitudinal data collected across four similar surveys fielded since 2008.
The 'Once Alternative Workplace Strategies Report’, reveals significant changes in how and where people work. Some of the more interesting findings include:
- The worry over a loss in productivity when people are able to work anywhere is entirely unfounded.
- People impacts, rather than cost savings, are now the primary measure of success
- Internal mobility has more than doubled since 2008; External mobility (working at home, coworking places, outside the office) has remained flat
- Nearly half of employees are still permanently assigned to one space; no change since 2008
- Employee involvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of workplace change programs has decreased significantly
The free 50+ page report can be downloaded at http://we.ifma.org/resources/we-research/.
Many employers, however, “have let remote work happen rather than make it happen. They haven’t done the (management) training,” says Kate Lister, president of consultancy Global Workplace Analytics.
It's all too easy to forget that person who dialed into the meeting remotely (and for them to forget about you). Good communication doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. That's true for face-to-face or remote employees. Dell, National Equity Fund, and many others make it work in a big way and reap the benefits in attraction/retention, engagement, cost reductions, and more.
When everyone is ‘remote’ at least part of the time, the whole idea of a remote worker is obsolete.
This is something I've been saying for years. Occupancy studies show employees are not at their desk more than half time. Whether they're 9 floors, 9 miles, or 9 timezones away, they are already working remotely. We need to shift the conversation to what we need to do to make them as engaged and productive as possible.