A few months ago I posted on the rising trend of telecommuting. The percent of companies that allow working from home has gone up dramatically over the past few years. From our experience, that trend has been accelerating in just the past few months. More companies are offering salespeople the option to work form home a few days a month once they are through their on-ramping process. We are also being asked by sales candidates early in the process if telecommuting is an option.
Not all companies and positions have that flexibility, but that shouldn’t preclude you from looking for alternatives. A recent article from the Workforce Management newsletter lists 7 companies that have done something about the concern of rising costs of transportation by offering help to their employees. From giving them bus passes to cash rebates for buying hybrid vehicles to running shuttle services, these are just a few of the examples of what some companies are doing. Some of the companies are large, like Microsoft, but here is what one small, 75 employee company is doing:
STS Telecom: The Cooper City, Florida-based provider of conventional and hosted Voice over Internet Protocol phone service reimburses employees for a portion of their daily commute—about $2 for each gallon of gas they use. In addition, the 75-employee company offers $250 toward the lease or purchase of a gas-electric hybrid car.
Let me give another example of a local, mid-sized company located here in Minnesota. My sons bought a Mazda RX7 earlier this summer from a friend that lives in Southern Minnesota. The previous owner decided to get rid of the car for several reasons. First he & his wife were expecting their first child and a 2-seat sports car is not ideal for a family of 3. The second reason was that the car only gets around 20 to 25 miles per gallon which isn’t bad, but there are a lot of cars available with better gas mileage. But the final reason that motivated him to sell the car was the fact that his company was giving rebates to employees that bought hybrid or high miles per gallon vehicles.
You probably know that we are big proponents of telecommuting options for salespeople. We speak to companies regularly that have not made any changes to help out with this hot topic. Some of the questions to consider:
What jobs can you have telecommute on a full or part-time basis?
What is keeping you from allowing employees to telecommute?
What can you do to help out those that cannot telecommute?
This topic is going to become more prevalent, not less, in the near future. If you plan to hire any salespeople in the near future, be prepared to discuss this topic.