Jim Ware at the Future of Work blog frequently talks about flexible work, distributed work, and how the 21st century workplace is changing. In 2007, I downloaded a report from them entitled: How Come Distributed Work is Still the Next Big Thing?  It is a great report that makes the case for distributed remote work (the whole resource section is filled with good reports), looks at the common factors of corporate resistance, and then, in the Part Three of the report they offer suggestions and guidelines for increasing the adoption of distributed work patterns. There are a lot more remote and distributed workers today than there were even a few years ago. I’m listening to a recent webinar by Jim Ware about how to keep a team connected in a distributed workplace.

How does this impact the Shiftboard customer who manages scheduling?

Online scheduling is one way to manage each of the six benefits that Ware points out below.  If I look for themes in our customer case studies, with the exception of number five, these are the reasons scheduling managers share for why they use Shiftboard.

The Future of Work report highlighted six benefits of distributed work:
1. Reducing basic workforce support costs;
2. Increasing workforce productivity;
3. Attracting and retaining talent;
4. Increasing organizational agility;
5. Reducing the business risk of disruption from terrorism or a natural disaster; and
6. Reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, and environmental impact more generally

“When you think about it, there’s your basic business case – just take those six factors and apply them to your own organization,” states Ware.

Managing remote employee teams

Lots of cities and states in the United States have looked at #6 from their report and created “Telecommuting Day.”  Virginia recently created the Telework Day initiative and did a terrific job of showing the results at their website. Virginia teleworkers saved approximately $113,000 and avoided driving 140,000 miles.

If you deal with remote workers or are trying to determine how to incorporate scheduling distributed workers, you’ll want to read the report: “What We Saved; What We Learned” compiled for the State of Virginia by the public-private partnership Telework Exchange. It also reveals an increase in productivity by participants and reports satisfaction with their teleworking experience. The future of work is indeed changing.


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