What Amazon, American Airlines, Cleveland Clinic Know About Home Working

Michele Rowan

Home working benefits are compounding, from virtually every vantage point. Simply put, home working saves everybody money (employees and business), it drives employee satisfaction and retention, and it propels the customer experience.

American Airlines, Cleveland Clinic, Capital One, Amazon.com, and Coventry Healthcare are among the speakers at the 2013 Home Working Summit, to be held Feb 19-21 in Dallas. They will be sharing their vision, objectives and strategies of home working, and the dynamic impact home working is having on their organizations.

To frame the overall use of home working in the US:

  • There is an estimated 9.4 million Americans who work primarily from home today, an increase of 37% since 1997.[1]
  • When we include employees, contractors and business owners who work from home a minimum of once a month, the estimate expands to 33.7 million, or 10% of wage and salaried employees in the United States.[2]
  • Analysts estimate that by 2016, 63 million Americans will telecommute.[3]
  • Within this decade, most, if not all workers will be mobile to some degree.[4]

Unlike the off-shoring tidal wave of the last decade, there remains no real downside to this business model. Many large corporations who traded cultural and product knowledge gaps for drastic reductions in labor costs offshore have rethought their positions with their high value customers. Re-shoring with home work is 15-30% less expensive than bricks and mortar operations, and delivers a plethora of high value returns not realized offshore.

For most businesses, absenteeism shrinks and productivity improves. Employee effort is invested purely in performing quality work, vs. enduring the strain and expense of a commute before the workday even starts. Companies that have seasonal spikes in customer care volume and/or varying arrival patterns of voice and non-voice work, are utilizing annualized hours and split shifts - a dramatic effect on cost of labor, as material as real estate savings.

Thousands of small to medium-sized businesses entered into home working quite organically to retain the occasional employee who was faced with relocation. And now these same organizations are leveraging the business model to grow without adding real estate, and hire the very best talent. Some work groups are entirely home-based, and others split their time between the office and home.

Technology is secure, and collaboration platforms connect employees – sometimes more efficiently than their in-house counterparts.

Eight breakout sessions at the 2013 Home Working Summit Dallas Feb 19-21.on IT, Hiring, Training and Operations enable attendees to accomplish six months worth of benchmarking in 1.5 days.

At-home agents do not simply represent great workplace assets--they can also represent great coaches. Don't forget to check out Greg Levin's piece "Virtual Peer Mentoring: Do the Best Contact Center Agents Wear Pajamas?"

[1]Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2010

[2]Global Workplace Analytics, June 2011, State of Telework in the US

[3]Forrester, March, 2009 Blog by Ted Schadler,Telecommuting Will Rise to Include 45% of US Workers by 2016

[4]Gartner, April, 2011 Blog by Telework Coalition, Number of Teleworkers Expected to Increase