Last week, I riffed on the worst benefit idea of 2008 (it's early, maybe someone can top it), which was the The Gas Price Guarantee - where a company locked all their employees in 2.85 per gallon, pledging to compensate them for the difference in their daily commute...
My thought was/is that a reasonable alternative is telecommuting. Don't pay for gas, find a way to keep some folks home, even for a day or two a week. Perfect thought from the think-tank, right?
Hold on there, KD/Dave Ulrich wannabe... It appears that there are actual practical considerations that can derail something as cool as telecommuting. I like to let my readers do the heavy lifting as much as possible, so here's what a Capitalist reader (Scott) had to say in the comments of that post related to telecommuting:
Great point on telecommuting. I've been thinking about how to propose a program, and Scott has nailed the primary issue - in any company, it will be the case of the Haves (the telecommuters) versus the Have-Nots (those not eligible to telecommute for whatever reason). It's enough to get you to ponder the program for two weeks, then give it up.
The issues start with mere eligibility. What jobs are eligible? Which ones aren't? Don't managers deserve the ability to note who's eligible based on performance? How do you modify your performance management system to ensure you get what you need out of the resource?
Then, should you be strong enough to get people working from home after you said "no" to those in spots not eligible, here come the technology issues. Eddie's cable provider stinks and he's trying to do it through dial up (nice thinking, Eddie). Sally lives outside of DSL land, but is doing a 200 foot drop from her neighbor's house that has high-speed.
Lot of considerations, to Scott's point and beyond. The bottom line - telecommuting as an individual issue/benefit is pretty cool. Telecommuting as an institutional force? That's going to take a little work and a strong hand to say "tough" when folks aren't eligible, or when they don't have the technology at home to make it work...
Are you tough enough to make that happen? Or is it just easier to take a nap and hope that the requests go away?