Massachusetts Employers Remain Ambivalent about Telecommuting

Posted by Karen Choi on Mar 26, 2013 3:17:00 PM

More than half of Massachusetts employers allow at least some employees to telecommute under certain circumstances, with the primary benefits being increased employee satisfaction and retention, according to a survey by Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

The downside of telecommuting, according to the survey, is a loss of collaborative creativity and close working relationships.

AIM surveyed 44 Massachusetts employers in the wake of the hotly debated decision by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to end telecommuting at the Internet company. The results underscore a lingering ambivalence among Massachusetts employers about the value allowing employees to work offsite:

  • Fifty-two percent of the 44 companies completing the survey offer some level of telecommuting options to their employees.
  • Sixty-one percent of survey respondents are manufacturers with the remaining thirty-nine percent spread among a wide spectrum of industry sectors.
  • Companies of all sizes offer telecommuting options:
    -69% of companies with fewer than than 50 employees
    -36% of companies with 50 to 100 employees
    -36% of companies with 101 to 500 employees
    -100% of companies with greater than 500 employees (only 3 companies responded)
  • Positions most commonly eligible for telecommuting:
    -52% sales
    -29% management and marketing
    -24% finance and HR
    -19% administration, consultants, IT and technical positions
    -14% customer service
    -5% operations
  • Seventy-six percent of companies report 10% or fewer of their employees telecommute
    -10% report 11-20% of their workforce telecommutes
    -10% report 21-30% of their workforce telecommutes
    -4% report 51-60% of their workforce telecommutes
  • Three out of four companies provide cellphones and or laptops to employees who telecommute.  Approximately one in four provide internet service and or a printer.

What do Massachusetts companies have to say about the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting?


Companies shared that telecommuting is effective during weather emergencies, when an employee has a sick child or an appointment during the day or when an employee is too sick to come to the office but is well enough to work from home.

In the spirit of full disclosure – the AIM Employers Resource Group heavily relies on telecommuting – with approximately 90 percent of our ERG staff working remotely when not at a customer site.  It works for us.  When we need to work face to face – we do. Not every job is conducive to working remotely and not every personality is suited for this work style.

Topics: Human Resources

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