If your workplace does not support employee schedulingflexibility and telecommuting, you are among a small percentage ofcompanies that has not kept up with workforce managementtrends.

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Evidence of the widespread acceptance of flexible schedules andtelework was presented inWashington, D.C. recently at the Telecommuting, Remote and Distributed WorksForum.

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Presenters agreed that the days of offering telecommuting orflexible schedules as a perkto certain employees are long over. Now, according to conferencecoverage by the Society for Human Resource Management, thoseoptions should be part of the strategic management of everyworkforce.

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Perhaps the most eye-popping numbers were provided by presenterRose Stanley, a senior practice leader at the nonprofit WorldatWork of Scottsdale, Arizona.

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She cited a study by WorldatWork and Boulder, Colorado-basedFlexJobsInc. of human resource managers that revealed a full 85 percentof them include ad hoc telecommuting in their policyhandbooks, 82 percent have adopted flexible scheduling, and 82percent support workers’ requests to work part time.

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Another two-thirds of those respondents said their employees canwork flexible schedules “at their own discretion.” And nearly halfsaid they believe teleworkers are just as productive as those whocome to the office every day.

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By embracing employees’ demonstrated desire to telework (80percent want that option, another study showed), companiesultimately benefit from a more satisfied and productiveworkforce.

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Even better, SHRM reported, speakers noted they can save on realestate and related costs by right-sizing their facilities. With asmuch as 70 percent of space in most offices now underused,employers are increasingly turning to facilities managementsoftware vendors and consultants to determine exactly how muchspace they need to pay for in this era of increasingly flexiblescheduling.

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“Offices are vacant 60 to 70 percent of the time,” said KateLister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “The employeeshave already left the building and whether they are nine feet, ninefloors or nine time zones away, they’re working virtually. Youdon’t get up to go talk to the guy 10 cubicles down because it’seasier to e-mail.”

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