Work From Home Is Here to Stay for Most Businesses

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Best Buy appears to be in the minority when it comes to following Yahoo's lead by restricting its work-from home policy, new research shows.

Among the 80 percent of employers that currently offer some form of telecommuting option to employees, 97 percent have no plans to eliminate the benefit, a study by staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc revealed.

The study comes on the heels of Yahoo's controversial decision to put an end to telecommuting and require all employees to work from an office. That move was quickly followed by Best Buy's decision to restrict its work-from-home policy by mandating that employees get their supervisors' permission first before doing so.

John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said that when major companies make notable policy changes it is common for other employers take notice and re-evaluate their policies, but it would be misguided to assume that they will follow blindly without considering their own unique circumstance.

"If a company is having success with its telecommuting program, it is unlikely to will pull the plug on it simply because Yahoo did," Challenger said. "No two companies are the same, so each must evaluate policies such as telecommuting based on how it will affect its customers, employees and bottom line."

Most employers don't have a blanket telecommuting policy, the study found. Less than 10 percent of the companies surveyed offered telecommuting to all workers, with about 40 percent offering telecommuting opportunities to some employees. In addition, another 30 percent do not have a formal telecommuting program but permit some employees to work from home some days.

"Not every worker has the discipline and self-motivation to work from home on a regular basis, which makes it nearly impossible to have a blanket policy," Challenger said. "Every manager must determine whether telecommuting will be permitted on a case-by-case basis."

The study discovered that increased productivity, a desire for employees to have a better work-life balance, improved morale and lowering office costs were the main factors driving employer's decisions to allow employees to work from home.

Decreased collaboration and increased animosity among those who were not permitted to telecommute are driving those employers that are considering or already have eliminated work-from-home options.

The research was based on surveys of 120 human resources executives.

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