Call it what you will – e-commuting, e-work or telework – the fact is that more and more employees are working away from a company’s home office on a full or part time basis.  Flexible working is one of the key issues we identified in our Big Trends for Small Business report.

With mobile technology and the Internet, large and small businesses increasingly are embracing flexible working because of a fundamental shift in the way they think about work. They know that it’s not about how many hours – it’s about results.

At Plantronics Smarter Working is our way of life. Not only do we all have the option to work at home, workspaces at our headquarters in Santa Cruz support a more flexible collaborative environment. We can work independently at a desk (assigned or unassigned) or meet in small informal groups in lounges or team rooms complete with collaboration tools, such as video conferencing and white boards. When it’s necessary to get a larger group together, we can meet in a traditional conference room.

iStock_000007287869XSmallMobile technology fuels flexible work style

As a result of flexible work options, our research indicates that companies are able to:

Attract and retain top talent: At some point, one of your team members will more than likely need to move out of the commute area. Teleworking could prevent you from losing that individual. Many of today’s Millennials – the ‘always’ connected generation – prefer companies that allow them the flexibility to define their own ‘office.’ A flexible work environment may be necessary for you to attract top talent to your small business.

Boost employee satisfaction: Research from Pennsylvania State University indicates that mobile work can improve job satisfaction, reduce stress, reduce turnover and mediate work-family conflict.

Boost employee productivity: If you are concerned that employees who work from home – and away from your direct oversight – will be less productive; statistics indicate otherwise. One study we found showed that 97 percent of workers and 87 percent of employers reported increases in productivity after integrating telecommuting into their business. These productivity gains can give your small business a competitive advantage.

Cut real estate costs: For most businesses, real estate costs are the second largest overall expenditure, surpassed only by investments in human resources. By allowing your team to spend some or all of their work days out of the office, you can free up real estate for new hires or even downsize to cut costs.

Expand your sales footprint: Many small business owners find that remote working can expand their sales footprint with little cost. With teammates distributed throughout the sales region – or even the country – you reduce travel costs while building stronger relationships with customers and clients who may not be located near your home office.

This week, teleworking made big news following Yahoo’s announcement it now would require all employees to come into the office. Yahoo’s decision – which the company reportedly indicated was based on its needs and was not a comment about teleworking in general – suggests that the issue is one every company must decide on its own based on its needs. Fortunately, today’s mobile technology gives you the choice.