Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Accountemps: Remote Work Arrangements on the Rise

Virginia companies are nearing the deadline to apply for a tax credit for employee telework expenses. According to a recent survey from Accountemps, the Commonwealth might be busy giving out those credits — remote work arrangements are on the rise.

In the survey, chief financial officers (CFO) were asked: “Have remote work arrangements (for example, telecommuting or working from a satellite office) within your company increased, decreased or remained the same in the last three years?” One-third of respondents said that such arrangements have increased in that time period, with 11 percent saying they’ve increased greatly and 22 percent saying they’ve increased somewhat. Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported no change.

“The prevalence of mobile technologies and wireless communication makes it easier for companies to support flexible work arrangements for their employees,” Accountemps Chairman Max Messmer said. “Although not all positions are suited to remote work arrangements, for those that are, this option can help give professionals more control over their schedules and aid in recruitment and retention efforts.”

Accountemps offered five key areas to monitor in order to engender more productive remote work arrangements:
  • Communication. Employers should keep remote workers in the loop on the latest news in their department and across the company without relying solely on email. Employees should provide frequent status updates on key projects and look for opportunities to interact with their colleagues.
  • Resources. Employers should ensure that offsite employees have the necessary resources to do their job, including remote network access. Employees should make sure their equipment is up to date and maintain productivity at in-office levels.
  • Planning. Employers should establish expectations and guidance at the outset in order to effectively monitor working arrangements. Employees should anticipate potential employer concerns and be prepared to discuss how to handle them.
  • Security. Employers and employees should work with information technology (IT) personnel to set up the requisite security protocols.
  • Camaraderie. Employers should work hard to ensure remote workers feel connected to the group. Possible ways to do this are including them in team activities and recognizing their accomplishments in front of their coworkers. Employees should try to join team activities as much as possible, seek input from coworkers and volunteer to assist them when they need help.
For more information, read this article from Disclosures magazine by VSCPA member Clare Levison, CPA, on how to succeed with nontraditional work arrangements.

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