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Making cents out of teleworking

Sarah Putt | March 26, 2013
Teleworking, like every aspect of business, should be measured by how much it contributes to the bottom line

The major issue with teleworking, I think, is that it's always dressed up in the wrong clothing. It's heralded as being cost efficient, environmentally friendly and creating a work/life balance.

Take that press release from New Zealand's official teleworking week. The benefits it reported on were from participants who entered details about their experience via an online calculator, which has since been removed from the website.

The release goes on to say that if the organisations maintained the same rate of teleworking, "New Zealand would gain 9,470 eight-hour work days, save $1.8 million in travel costs, and prevent 4.7 tones of emissions going into the environment."

Quite apart from the fact that I think those figures are unproven, what do they actually mean to businesses trying to make a buck?

Teleworking shouldn't be an employee right or privilege, it should be a way to increase the bottom line. Which is why you can't expect someone who regularly works at home to be incentivised in the same way that they are in the office.

If teleworking is going to be beneficial to a business then change the way employees are incentivised. Pay a teleworker in outputs, and then measure teleworking's success by whether it boosts the bottom line.

And, if there must be a second New Zealand Teleworking Week, then for goodness sake produce an actual report at the end of it which lists the organisations who participated and the methodology used. A once-over-lightly press release just gives working from home a bad name.


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