Telecommuting Benefits Have Tripled Over Past 20 Years, SHRM Survey Shows

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 20, 2016

The proportion of employers that offer some form of telecommuting as an employee benefit has tripled during the past 20 years, from 20% to 60%, according to a comprehensive new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Of the roughly 3,500 HR professionals surveyed:

  • 56% offer telecommuting on an ad-hoc basis, with employees working from home intermittently or as a one-time event;
  • 31% offer telecommuting on a part-time basis; and
  • 20% offer telecommuting on a full-time basis.

SHRM said that telecommuting provides employers "a cost-effective way to help employees balance their work and personal lives."

Employees rated work-life balance as the third most important benefit in another recent SHRM survey, just behind paid time off and health care/medical benefits, suggesting that telecommuting can have a significant effect on employee recruitment and retention.

Other notable findings from the benefits survey include:

  • The proportion of employers that offer an onsite lactation/mother's room increased from 30% in 2012 to 39% in 2016, presumably in response to the 2010 law that requires employers to provide a dedicated place for employees to express breast milk.
  • The proportion of employers that offer a stand-alone sick leave plan increased from 33% in 2012 to 41% in 2016. "I would surmise that ... the state and local legislation related to paid leave has had an impact," said Evren Esen, SHRM's Director of Survey Programs. "Some companies are just being preemptive."
  • Although 75 percent of HR professionals reported that their employees are satisfied with their benefits packages, other research has found that only 68 percent of employees are satisfied, suggesting there may be a disconnect between perception and reality in several workplaces.