Execs say telecommuting hurts promotion potential

* Telecommuting and job advancement

Last week recruitment firm Futurestep released a report that telecommuters may find troubling. More than 60% of global executives surveyed by the Korn/Ferry International subsidiary believe telecommuters are less likely to advance in their careers in comparison to traditional office workers.

Interestingly, though, 78% of those execs feel telecommuters are either equally or more productive than those who work in offices. And 48% of those leaders said they'd consider a job which involved telecommuting on a regular basis.

"Smart employers know that flexible working conditions can be an effective means to creating a productive workforce," Futurestep CEO Robert McNabb says. "Often when employers offer the option of flexible hours and telecommuting, they help employees maintain balance in other parts of their lives which, in turn, fosters loyalty, satisfaction and retention."

A Network World article notes that the number of teleworkers has grown since 1990 from about 4 million to more than 45 million, according to the Telework Coalition. What's more, a 2006 study from the Transportation Research Board found the average commute time is on the rise. The average travel time jumped from 21.7 minutes in 1980 to more than 25.5 in 2000, with some categories of extreme commuters traveling more than an hour and a half each way to get to work. Numbers like this could spur employees to request telework programs.

Companies like IBM are already onboard. In fact, only 60% of its staff are working from a traditional office on any given day. (See "Striving to keep teleworkers happy")

What's your take? Do you allow your staff to telecommute and what effect, if any, does telecommuting have on their career advancement potential? Let me know.

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