Telecommuting: Weighing the Pros and Cons


Telecommuting's advantages sound like the perfect weapon for CIOs fighting to retain top IT staffers. But those plusses clearly aren't enough to spark a telecommuting revolution. IT executives cite improved recruitment, productivity boosts, decreased turnover and lower costs as the top advantages of telecommuting, according to a new report by IT research and advisory firm Computer Economics.

On top of those gems, 72 percent of respondents said telecommuting can reduce employee turnover.

Sounds like the panacea for many of the CIO's biggest woes, right? Then why is telecommuting still at a "moderate level of practice," in the firm's judgment?

Let's look at some of the numbers. First, it's necessary to note that more than half of the firms surveyed claim to be either partially (41 percent) or fully (12 percent) practicing telecommuting. The latter is more telling. "This suggests that many adopters are allowing telecommuting mostly on an ad-hoc basis and may have no formal policies in place," Computer Economics posits in the report.

It's equally important to note why that is. When asked about the disadvantages telecommuting brings, IT execs pointed to (by varying degrees) interference with communications, security issues, lowered morale in the office and reductions in quality and productivity. (A separate study found that IT departments don't exactly trust telecommuters.)

So it appears telecommuting is facing the big ol' battle of risk versus reward. And that's a shame.

So what'll it be, IT pros: will telecommuting help your company, or hurt it? What's your company's current stance on telecommuting?