Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Telecommuting: Myth or Reality?

When your business is in a place that is too expensive, too rural, too cold, too whatever the problem might be in attracting top talent, establishing a robust telecommuting program can be an effective way to solve your qualified worker problem.

Convergys is using telecommuting as a key HR strategy. A quick browse of the CNNMoney feature on the Forbes Top 100 Employers finds a slew of companies whose workers cite their telecommuting and flex schedules as a key perq -- and one assumes that this PR is good for recruiting.

What I find puzzling is the don't-ask-don't-tell attitude about telecommuting policies in company recruiting sites. If you look at Convergys, Google, Microsoft, and other places that I know have theoretically robust telecommuting programs, it is hard to find information. It's almost as though they want the PR, but they don't want to attract candidates who are just angling for the slippers. It makes me wonder if their outward enthusiasm for telecommuting is just...well...outward enthusiasm.

What if actual use of these telecommuting programs is like men's use of FMLA -- sure, the law says new fathers can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child, but in practice almost no father does take 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Do you work for one of the big employers with telecommuting programs? Are you connected with your community of telecommuting peers? How many other telecommuters do you know at your company?

I'm just wondering.


Mayberry said...

I work for a company of 8,000+ employees and I know of only one other telecommuter. (She's more of a traveling road-show type, actually.) My boss has been extremely supportive, and her bosses have been tolerant. But finance? IT? Forget it. The company, however, does not promote telecommuting as a perk.

Stella Commute said...

Thanks for commenting, MayberryMom! Very interesting...it does seem like many times it's a way to keep talented individuals from running for the hills (or rather allowing them to run for the hills) and a policy is created but never promoted to others. Hmmm.