Tag Archives: green policy

How to Know When Employees May Not Be Cut Out for Virtual Work

A telecommuting policy is an attractive benefit for incoming employees. Do you know which of your employees would be most successful in the virtual work program? Through time and experience, you’ll find that telecommuting is not for everyone.  

Identifying the types of individuals and skills for successful telecommuting can be difficult. Some employees may be a natural fit. Virtual work requires a different skill set than working in an office, even if the job responsibilities are the same.   

  • Interdependency: While you want virtual workers to be independent and self-motivated, it is also crucial that they collaborate and share common goals and responsibilities with others. 
  • Indicators for Potential Success: For instance, experience would be an indicator that someone is a candidate for telecommuting. Has he/she worked remotely in past jobs before?
  • Personality Testing: There are also personality assessment tests you can conduct to determine if an employee is well suited to virtual work. These will test important qualities like flexibility, multitasking, follow-through, and self-motivation.  

Read the TLNT Magazine article

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A Cash Rewards Program for Commuting Employees

In Washington D.C., a new Live Near Your Work incentive program is launching to for metro area employees. Similar to telecommuting or flexible hours, this incentive program is meant to assist workers who face really long commutes to the office every day.  

The Office of Planning, a D.C.-based agency that develops plans for city development and neighborhood revitalization, is launching a pilot program that will match employer contributions of up to $6,000 to convince employees to move closer to their work or public transit.  

With gas prices going up, the Live Near Your Work program (which is also available in Maryland and Delaware right now) has the ultimate goal of cutting commuting costs and time as well as reengaging employees in the workplace, reducing stress and burnout.  

“This program may not be in the best interest of the business,” Kathy Sharo, Runzheimer International (an employee mobility service firm) says. “With today’s mobile and video technology, a physical office and the associated cost is no longer a necessity.”  

“In addition, companies can place employees closer to customer locations, instead of closer to the employee’s local business office, to improve service while keeping them fully connected to corporate.”


Read the Human Resource Executive article

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Long Commutes Are Causing Organizations to Lose Money and Talented Workers

Did you know that more than 5 million American employees have, at some point, called into work sick because of their unfortunate commute to the office?  

In a survey by The Workforce Institute this week, close to 50% of the 2,042 participants agreed that their commutes greatly affected their level of job satisfaction. Also:  

  • 15% would change jobs just to cut their commute time
  • 32% of adults have an average commute time of 30 minutes to 1 hour  

There are a few important issues that human resources could learn about employee motivation from this survey. One, employees take opportunities to call in sick and stay home, due to the dreaded anticipation of their long commutes by car or public transit.  

Secondly, managers and human resources could discuss the implications that commuting has on their employee retention. Consider the costs associated with living in the area, how much gas has gone up, how expensive the subway or bus ticketing system has grown in the past few years.  

The survey also noted that 6% of working adults are paid for their commuting time. There is a great argument for telecommuting benefits for workers. Not only would an employee potentially get more work done with lessened commuting stress, telecommuting is a beneficial boost for the organization’s overall work-life balance initiative.  

Read the United Press article

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DOL Considers Updating Rules on Providing Benefit Information Electronically

In a workforce shifting to the paperless environment, where does your organization stand? According to the 2002 regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor:  

Plan information can be distributed electronically to employees who have access to electronic information at work as part of their duties – and to those who have signed a consent form allowing their employer to supply their benefit documents electronically.  

Now, the Department of Labor is rethinking their policy on electronic document accessibility for benefit information. In a notice in early April, the DOL published a notice welcoming feedback on whether national regulations regarding electronic disclosure should be updated.  

Since there have been a number of significant technological advancements, there is the consideration that there should be different disclosure requirements to accommodate the widespread use of wireless and smart phones as well as other portable devices. 

Read the HR Morning article  

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More Companies Coming On Board with Telecommuting Programs

During the 2011 Telework Week in February, nearly 40,000 employees took advantage of telecommuting for the event, showing an increase of participation among organizations nationwide. With 86% of participants working for the federal government, Telework Week realized a variety of major savings:

  • Employees reported an increase in employee productivity
  • Total savings of $2,730,229 for the company in that one week 
  • 60% of managers more open to telework than last year  

According to the Telework Exchange, if all eligible federal employees telecommuted two days a week for a year, they would also save $3.8 billion in commuting costs. With more HR and employers warming up to the idea of telework programs, there are several reasons why it’s a worthwhile venture. Studies continue to show that employees who work from home are more productive than those who don’t.  

Telework programs enable the organization to save large amounts of money on office spaces, electricity, heating/cooling, and more. Absenteeism also significantly drops, and employees who work from home periodically tend to experience less stress and are exposed to fewer health risks (e.g., sick coworkers, car accidents, etc).  

Read the Telework Week 2011 report


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Energy Hog: How Not Having an Energy Plan Is Costing Your Company

HR and business decisionmakers alike should realize that energy easily consumes between 5% and 20% of a typical company’s costs. While larger corporations and heavy industries have been called upon to become socially and environmentally responsible, there are often many small or medium sized organizations that have not found an energy plan essential to their business. It could either not be a priority, or perhaps it is difficult to anticipate direct benefits that would warrant the additional work.

Every company has a business strategy, or a risk strategy, in place. Energy management is a crucial area that involves human resources, particularly as it is also an issue that is important to their employees’ work environment.

Consider the following:

Good for Employee Morale, Good for the Bottom Line. Adding a telecommuting work option is a double benefit, being a highly desired employee benefit and a way to cut energy costs each month. If you don’t offer telecommuting, you will see a significant difference in operating costs by reducing the volume of employees using lights, copy machines, computers, and other office equipment every day.

The Cost Could Be Your Company’s Reputation. It’s worthwhile to look further into the company’s bottom line as it pertains to energy efficiency practices. More companies are beginning to realize that their approach to environmental responsibility has a direct impact on their brand image and the level of confidence that their customers have in their products or services.

For example, a leaked McKinsey and Co. study reported in 2006 by Newsweek showed nearly 10% of Wal-Mart shoppers stopped patronizing the store because of its worsening reputation, including its commitment to the environment.

And it doesn’t just end with your customers. Human resources have to strategically consider what this could mean in recruiting new talent to the organization. For employees who value environmental conservation and implore to the ethical standards that define your organization, an energy plan could make or break the job offer.

Even further, how new employees view your company’s place in the community and the environment could impact retention rates as well as how they describe the company to outsiders (and impact future referrals for open positions).

Do you have a current energy plan, or are you interested in starting one? Next week, I will be featuring some easy tips on cutting office energy costs that you can implement now. I’ll also be planning to cover other areas of green practices at work like ridesharing, recycling, environmental awareness activities, volunteerism, and more. Stay tuned!

Read the Forbes article

Read the CNN article

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