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Survey Report: What’s Really Happening with Telecommuting, Flextime, Dress

E-pinions
by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR

By Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR

Just My E-pinion

For years, BLR® has surveyed compensation and benefits professionals. This year, we have expanded our program with a series of brief, targeted benefits surveys. In today’s Advisor, we’ve got the results of the recent Telemarketing, Flextime, and Dress Code survey. What are other organizations doing in these areas? Read on.

Here’s brief summary of key findings; the detailed results appear below.

Telecommuting. Over half (57 percent) of employers offer telecommuting in some form and most of those have offered the benefit for several years (20 percent for 8 or more years!).

As to the benefits of telecommuting programs, 64 percent of those who have a program cite improved morale. Other frequently cites benefits include improved recruiting and retention (41 percent), higher employee productivity (41 percent), and reduced absenteeism (42 percent).

Flextime. Most employers (88 percent) offer at least some form of flextime. Forty-two percent offer at least some flexible hours; 13 percent offer “core flex,” that is, a core of required hours, such as 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and 4 percent report offering totally flexible hours.

Dress Down. Sixty-two percent of responding organizations offer weekly dress-down days, and another 24 percent have occasional dress down days.

Here are the detailed results:

Organization allows telecommuting:

   Number Percent
Yes 696 57%
No 533 43%

Number of years that telecommuting has been offered:
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   Number Percentage
Less than one year 45 8%
1-2 years 154 26%
3-4 years 173 29%
5-7 years 108 18%
8 years or more 118 20%

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Organization has formal telecommuting guidelines:

   Number Percent
Yes 258 43%
No 347 57%

Organization requires telecommuting employees to sign a formal agreement:

   Number Percent
Yes 185 31%
No 412 69%

Telecommuting employees required to maintain a separate work area in their home:

   Number Percent
Yes 161 27%
No 430 73%

Telecommuting employees required to have childcare:

   Number Percent
Yes 124 21%
No 462 79%

Allowance provided to employees for telecommuting set-up expenses:

   Number Percent
Yes 151 26%
No 436 74%

Telecommuting employees reimbursed for monthly expenses such as telephone and internet connections:

   Number Percent
Yes 263 45%
No 327 55%

Benefits realized by organization from offering telecommuting to employees:

   Number Percent
Improved employee recruiting and retention 227 41%
Improved employee morale 358 64%
Improved response to disruptions such as storms 194 35%
Higher employee productivity 231 41%
Savings on office space and other resources 176 31%
Reduced employee absenteeism 234 42%
Other 82 15%

Company satisfaction with telecommuting arrangements:

 

Number

Percent

Very satisfied

163

28%

Somewhat satisfied

203

35%

Neutral

133

23%

Somewhat dissatisfied

58

10%

Very dissatisfied

25

4%


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Flextime policy for Exempt employees:

 

Number

Percent

No flexible schedule

132

12%

Some flexible hours

543

50%

Compressed workweek available

74

7%

Core flex (core required hours + flex hrs.)

212

20%

Totally flexible hours

122

11%

Flextime policy for Nonexempt employees:

 

Number

Percent

No flexible schedule

358

34%

Some flexible hours

451

42%

Compressed workweek available

80

8%

Core flex (core req’d hours + flex hrs.)

134

13%

Totally flexible hours

40

4%

Dress Code for Exempt employees:

 

Number

Percent

Very relaxed

103

10%

Relaxed and casual

521

49%

Traditional/business attire

435

41%

Strict, suits only

6

1%

Dress Code for Nonexempt employees:

 

Number

Percent

Very relaxed

190

18%

Relaxed and casual

530

50%

Traditional/business attire

330

31%

Strict, suits only

6

1%

Dress Code is relaxed during the summer months:

 

Exempt Employees

Nonexempt Employees

 

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

No

741

70%

726

70%

Yes, applies to all employees

234

22%

231

22%

Yes, for employees with no customer contact

85

 8%

85

8%

“Dress Down” days offered:

 

Exempt Employees

Nonexempt Employees

 

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

No

372

35%

386

37%

Yes, applies to all employees

544

52%

530

51%

Yes, for employees with no customer contact

139

13%

125

12%

Frequency of Dress Down days:

 

Number

Percent

Weekly (e.g., on Fridays)

563

62%

Occasionally, such as before holidays

131

14%

As a reward for performance or fund-raising achieved

92

10%

Dress down days not allowed

98

11%

Other

192

21%

 

Thanks to all who participated in the survey. Next up, a report on our survey of child care and elder care. Comments on today’s survey? Suggestions about what we should survey next? Let me know at sbruce@blr.com.

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