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CFOs Can Make Telecommuting Policies Work

CFOs can accommodate parents with telecommuting policies.

Marissa Mayer's requirement that all Yahoo employees must report to work has triggered other executives to question whether they should take another look at their telecommuting policy.

Is Telecommuting Actually Beneficial?
According to a new survey by the Korn/Ferry Institute, roughly 80 percent of respondents said their employers have telecommuting policies, while 94 percent believe it is a necessary option, especially for parents of young children. While working from home can help staff members achieve a better work/life balance, are employees able to reach their potential when consistently out of the office?

"While some high-profile companies have stepped away from telecommuting, our survey shows that most enterprises still see it as an important way to drive productivity, increase retention and demonstrate inclusion in the workplace," said Ana Dutra, chief executive officer of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting.  "It is all about driving responsibility and accountability, whether a person works in the office or at home."

Keep Telecommuters in the Loop
CFOs who do allow their teams to work outside the office need to create ways to make sure they are engaged in the workplace at all times. Far too often, employees who work from home feel as though they are isolated from the rest of staff, and they are on their own for most things. By having virtual meetings or group chats, CFOs can ensure that their telecommuters still feel they are valued members of the company.

"While working at home can be beneficial for both companies and workers, it can also lead to 'invisibility' that can limit opportunities for career advancement," said Dutra. "It is important for telecommuters to remain networked as closely as possible with peers and leaders in the office."

Virtual Tools Make Telecommuting Easier
Keeping staff members plugged into the workplace is easier than ever thanks to instant messaging solutions, email, video conferencing, as well as a number of other communication tools. This has made it more likely for CFOs to open up to the idea of allowing staff members to work remotely. Forbes recently interviewed David Heinemeier Hansson, a partner at the web-based software development firm 37signals and author, who understands the importance of face-to-face interaction in the workplace. However, he referenced research from that found technology has replaced "95 percent of the need of face-to-face in terms of the efficiency of running a company," forcing CFOs to think about adjusting their policies and strategies for the upcoming years. CFOs need to get a better understanding for the potential of new technology if they want to be able to lure the top talent into the workplace. 

Workplaces Must Become More Innovative
Innovations in technology have made it easier for employees to stay connected to their company from anywhere with an internet connection, and now firms are going to need to change around their processes to accommodate young, skilled staff members who want to be able to telecommute or work from their favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Hansson argues that CFOs will have to understand how remote work is valued by millennials. He said that once professionals have had the option to telecommute, it will be less likely that they take future jobs where they aren't allowed such benefits. Sometime CFOs will have to readjust their strategies to be able to remain in competition with other firms in their industry.