National Business Group on Health (NBGH): Resources - Teleworkers/Flexible Work
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Teleworkers/Flexible Work

Why Employers Care

As new technologies give employees the ability to do their jobs anywhere and at any time, an increasing number of employers are offering more flexible work arrangements, including the option to work remotely. According to research:

  • 83% of 537 U.S. employers offer telework on at least an ad-hoc basis;
  • 57%-58% of U.S. employers offer it on a part-time basis (once a month or once a week); and
  • 37% offer full-time telework.1

Telework offers many benefits to the employer and the employee. It can ease business continuity plans, increase fuel and energy savings, and reduce real estate costs. Telework can also increase productivity, and at moderate levels, job satisfaction, work-life balance and employee retention. Leveraged appropriately, it can also reduce rising disability and workers' compensation costs by helping help sick or injured employees return to work faster. However, telework also presents challenges to an employee's access to on-site resources, their mental health, safety and relationships.

What Can Employers Do?

Employers should consider how telework fits into their overall workplace flexibility policies or disability management programs. Those offering telework opportunities should develop a formal program and process that includes clearly defined and formalized policies; manager and employee training opportunities; a review of needed technology; and a strong performance management strategy. Employers should also consider the impact of telework on an employee's health and take steps to:

  • comply with important federal and state laws;
  • ensure equitable access to wellness programs, resources and services across all employees; and
  • communicate effectively to remote workers.

For more help information on telework, the Business Group has created its toolkit Telework: The Impact on Health and Health Improvement Strategies.

References (show references)

1 WorldatWork. New Study: US Employers Offer Four Types of Telework Programs. February 15, 2011.

Page last updated: September 14, 2012

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