Why is it Important to Believe Work is a Thing You Do….

….Not a place you go.

I just read an article on mobilitylab.org. I read the first two articles in a four-part series entitled “Work is a Thing You Do Not a Place You Go.” I’m hoping they dive deeper into that statement. For me it was provocative and important. The articles are an interview of Chuck Wilsker from the Telework Coalition.

The first article focuses on the question of why there’s still resistance to Telework. Mr Wilsker listed several reasons that many of us have heard before. He says ”

There have been many reasons over the years, including resistance to change, technology issues, and security concerns.” I think we’d all agree to that. He touches on something else that I have encountered before… The use of the word telework. Many people are confused by the word itself. They’re not sure what it means and it really doesn’t do topic justice. Telework sounds small, in some ways. But the changes in work habits occurring in the market and society today are no small thing. I’d contend that almost every new technology released in the last ten years in some way promotes, causes, or encourages changes in the way we work; they have caused a significant shift in the way, place and time that we work.

The second article focuses on companies making the case for telework. In it Mr Wilsker says “The best case to present to an employer, however, is that he or she can save up to $20,000 per year per full-time teleworker based upon reduced real-estate needs and corresponding overhead costs, improved employee retention, increased productivity, higher employee morale, and reduced costs relating to absenteeism.”

This seems like a large number but it’s accurate. Recently we completed an ROI calculator created to calculate the return on investment when an organization goes through a work shift and move its employees to the home. Most recently we completed an assessment for a contact center moving 150 agents to the home. We found that in the first year the customer would see almost a $2.5 million ROI in the first year…or $16,666 per employee.

All this is important information, but I really want to get back to work being the thing you do. This is an interesting statement to me because, after all, what we do and how we do it reflects who we are. Working at home isn’t a piece of cake. A succesful work at home employee must be more directed, independent and self motivated than a worker that works in the office.

I would like to think that our work is our craft. That there’s a nobility to work that supersedes a paycheck and motivates us to get up in the morning. I think this is especially true for those that work in the home.

In a recent study we conducted analyzing work at home employees in an effort to create a screening test that would be a good predictor of success in the home. Not surprisingly we found a high correlation between factors like independent thinkers, not being afraid of failure, actively seeking recognition and success as a work at home employee.

Lastly I wanted to share this bit of information. These articles took me to the Telework Coalition website. On their website I found this top 10 list. I thought you would be interested.

TelCoa’s Top 10 Reasons to Telework©

For the Employer and the Economy:

  • Create Jobs, improve competitive advantage, and foster the ability to better compete in an increasingly globalized economy via Homeshoring/Homesourcing
  • Reduce costs: real estate, facilities, direct labor, business travel, and other overhead expenses; notably liability and health insurance
  • Improve recruiting and retention of skilled labor for enhanced productivity, creativity, and higher quality work product results
  • Provide hope and economic opportunity (especially in rural areas) for service disabled veterans, others with disabilities, older workers who desire to remain in or reenter the workforce, and for part-time employment reducing reliance on benefit programs

 For the Employee:

  • Better balance family and work responsibilities, become self reliant, and participate more often in local activities
  • Retain a larger percentage of earnings for a higher quality of life and less dependence on outdated over stressed institutions

For the Environment and Society:

  • Lower carbon footprints, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air and water quality
  • Reduce dependence on foreign energy, especially petroleum
  • Lessen highway congestion, reduce the need for capital intensive  transportation ‘solutions’ (highway, rail, bus, parking garages, security, etc.), and lower ‘rush hour’ transit related accidents and fatalities
  • Decrease the impact from or likelihood of natural disasters, pandemics, and terrorist events

 I hope you found this interesting. As always I look forward to your feedback.


6 thoughts on “Why is it Important to Believe Work is a Thing You Do….

  1. Brilliant article, many of the points I talk about in my presentations about Work Different, you have articulated them very well. Would you mind if I use some of your material in my talks?

  2. Many thanks for this article based on our telework series at Mobility Lab. I would be interested in seeing a copy of the study that looked at how to be successful working from home. Perhaps then interview you about it for a future blog …

    Cheers, Paul

  3. I agree with all your telework benefits. I’ve been teleworking for 25 years. Technology has Taken us on a journey we have only just begun.

    As all this teleworking increases to provide such great savings, a big issue developing is the decline in occupancy in commercial space now. Hey, by the time the percentage of teleworking hits 50% the next generation can turn that commercial office space into condos. It’s a little like the manufacturing facilities built in the early 1900’s which 100 years later are lofts. In 25 years the office buildings we know today will be, hummm. Let your imagination go.

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