The $50m reason your team should work from home

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How does higher productivity, collaboration, loyalty and engagement sound? They’ve all been linked to telework, so if you’re still managing the back of people’s heads it might be time to shake things up.

Many managers feel that if they can’t see their employees then they can’t trust them to be working, but by encouraging mobile work and switching to a results-based management system, you can increase productivity and loyalty. It’s a system that’s worked so well that telecommunication company Telus intends to have 70% of its employees working from home at least part of the time by 2015.

Telus’ “Work Styles” program has advantages for employer and employee, according to SVP of Strategic Initiatives, Communications and Government Relations Andrea Goertz.

“It’s great for the environment, it’s fantastic for decreasing our real estate footprint, and increases engagement,” Goertz said. “It’s had a positive impact on culture as well – people know we trust them. It’s management by objectives and delivery, not by how many hours spent in the office or cubicle. There’s been a loyalty improvement within our team members because they do feel appreciated.”

Since implementing the program in 2011, the company has seen a productivity increase of 5% – they had predicted a 2% rise – as well as improved collaboration. Fewer formal work spaces actually gave employees more access to private quiet space, while access to impromptu meeting spaces increased 45%.

A huge sell for employers is the associated cost reductions. By consolidating space, Telus reduced its real estate footprint by 1 million square feet, with a plan to reduce it by another half million. This translated to a saving of about $50million a year.

The company also focused on using phone and video conferencing to reduce travel, both locally and nationally.

“We’re moving ideas, not people,” Goertz said.

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