RC: How would you characterise the growing trend of telecommuting in recent years? In general, how amenable are companies to this trend as employee rights and expectations continue to evolve?

Trumpower: As telecommuting has become more prevalent in the market, in general, more employees are inquiring about it. Though there has been some change management involved in getting managers comfortable with managing the arrangement, telecommuting is certainly here to stay.

Schmelkin: Telecommuting is an area where the interests of both employer and employee may often align. Secure portals can allow full access to company systems from anywhere with an internet connection. As such, telecommuting can be a vital retention tool for the employer, while at the same time a much valued flexibility tool for the employee. However, telecommuting is not for all employers – and, for that matter, not for all employees. A trusting relationship must exist, and technology solutions can only take us so far – as well as raising lots of legal issues if adopted. The employer cannot completely delegate responsibility for working time or health and safety compliance to the employee. However, the employer is limited in its capability to manage issues remotely.

Perry: The growing trend of remote work is a reflection of the substantial generational shift in the workforce. Millennial employees are expected to comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025; these millennial employees were raised on evolving technologies that instantly connected them to the world around them. In fact, many will even complete their education by taking courses in a virtual classroom. To them, work is a thing, not a place. Employers who recognise this and provide avenues to employees to stay connected and productive are going to have a better chance of winning in the war for talent. Most of the clients with whom I work are open to telecommuting arrangements, and many embrace them.

Jul-Sep 2017 Issue

Ingersoll-Rand Company

Jones Day