Got an interesting email the other day. It came from the “home office,” which is really the organization that oversees the “division” I work in, but that is really totally separate from the regular organization. Basically, the money (think paychecks, benefits, budgets) flows through the “home office” but we could be totally independent organization if it weren’t arranged this way.
Anyway, the email was a company survey talking about the S.M.A.R.T. goals (there’s a buzz word for you) of the organization and they wanted feedback on the goal to “improve employee recruitment, retention, and engagement.” The survey had the general multiple choice questions about workplace climate and job satisfaction, etc. Pretty standard stuff.
But then there was an open section for Comments…and this is the place where you can enter anything you want. The survey is supposedly anonymous, but I don’t really care either way as I like to have my voice heard (thus, the blog and the reason you read – LOL).
So, one issue that I have talked about often on here is the commute to work. I have a great job and I enjoy it and the people I work with but, seriously, the worst part is the commute. Given that I am required to go to the office at least several times a week is rather annoying when the job literally could be done from anywhere in the world. Literally. As long as there is a decent internet connection, that is.
Anyway, I said what was on my mind. I pasted my response below.
“As part of the ‘improve employee recruitment, retention, and engagement’ goal, one of the things that needs to be addressed is the telecommuting policies and opportunities.
As an organization that looks for people with specialized skills or training, the recruitment pool is fairly narrow. Since the ESD covers a rather large area of service, your candidate pool could be rather large as well but factors such as location and commute times have a negative impact, both on current employees and potential ones.
Obviously, moving and obtaining reasonable housing for a job isn’t much of an option these days, but the technology exists to allow for people in remote locations to provide and complete the same (or better) functions they would at the office without having to be there. This would, in most cases, increase the number of people who could apply for a job but also would increase the satisfaction of current employees since many of them have between a 20-50 minute (one way) commute on good days.
People stay at jobs for more reasons that just work place atmosphere and pay. There are factors outside of the job that also play into their satisfaction and if those aren’t addressed, no matter the benefits the job offers, they will always consider other opportunities, even if it means taking a pay or benefit cut, so that it makes their life outside of work better.
Technology today can aide in much of those issues, if it is used for the benefit of employee and employer. The need for an office, a building, diminishes as technology improves and a central location is “business as usual” thinking. Allowing employees to work from remote locations obviously has an immediate overhead implication, in that it lowers it significantly. No big spaces to maintain, heat, clean, insure, etc. Are funds better spend on a physical location or on serving students directly? The answer is easy, but it takes out-of-the-box thinking to make it work.”
Do you think anyone will listen? Do you think it will matter? Moreover, if you were the boss in charge of employee retention and engagement, would it make a difference to you?
Well written. In cities of any size, commuting is AWFUL. Infrastructure rarely meets demand. The US just never could do the European thing with trains except in REALLY big cities and, in comparison, we suck at it.
Just out of curiosity, what does your org. do?
My “division” provides training and support for School Information Systems. We support 50+ school districts in Western Washington. The “parent,” if you will, is an educational service district.
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