A recent study found that 38 percent of employers surveyed are now offering regular telework options for their employees, up from just 23 percent six years ago. But there are still plenty of hurdles for employees who like the idea of cutting out the commute. The New York Times reports:
[W]hile more employers say they are offering flexible work arrangements—like working from home, starting and ending the days a bit earlier or later—they are still typically offered only to certain employees, and are often informally negotiated with a sympathetic manager, workplace experts say.
Many employers are even moving in the opposite direction when it comes to flexible work arrangements:
Beyond reported increases in telecommuting and flexible work schedules, recent studies show that more employers are cutting back programs that would allow workers to reduce hours to better manage the care of, say, an ill parent. Employers have also cut back the length of leave to new fathers and adoptive parents, and reduced pay given to birth mothers on leave. And fewer employers are encouraging supervisors to assess workers’ performance by what they accomplish, instead of resorting to measures like hours worked or face time.
We would hope to see more firms fully and formally embrace telework and flexible schedules—and all the benefits they bring. This is something the federal government has actually gotten right, for a change; all federal agencies are required to put in place formal telework policies as a result of 2010’s Telework Enhancement Act. Perhaps for once the private sector should imitate the public?