Flexible Work & Scheduling

Working from Home/Telecommuting

Telecommuting allows employees to work from home or some other remote site some or all of the time.

Benefits to Employers1

  • Increases productivity
  • Reduces real estate and overhead costs
  • Increases net worth
  • Increases retention, reducing turnover costs
  • Increases employee loyalty
  • Employees can work more hours before experiencing work/family conflict
  • Reduces employee absenteeism
  • Saves money during emergencies and weather- related disruptions

Benefits to Parents/Families2

  • Saves employees time
  • Increases job satisfaction
  • Reduces reports of physical and mental fatigue
  • Offers large benefits for disabled or temporarily disabled workers

Research or Recommendations from National Organizations

A significant amount of research indicates that flexibility in all forms is one of the most beneficial policies to help employees balance family and work. Having some control over when or where to work allows workers to juggle the demands of long hours and care for children, according to the National Council on Family Relations.3

Research suggests that telecommuter job satisfaction is maximized when telecommuting occurs at moderate levels—about two days per week. However, each employee is unique, so employers should work with individuals to find the right fit.4 

Range of Practices in the United States

More than double the number of employers offer telecommuting on an occasional basis than in 2005 (68 percent today, up from 34 percent).5

However, only 33 percent of workers consistently telecommute on a part-time basis, and only 23 percent telecommute on a full-time basis. 6

Part-time workers have less access to flexibility overall (39 percent), as do less-skilled and low- wage workers.7

This can be extra stressful for low-wage workers, who are just as likely to have responsibilities for child care as high-wage employees but have fewer financial resources and are less likely to have a partner or spouse who can share family work. 8

Case Study

R. Riveter

Location: West End and Southern Pines (with contractors located across the country) • Year Founded: 2012 • Number of Employees: 37 FT employees; 36 contractors (known as Riveters)

Military spouses provide strength and support to their service members, enabling their husbands and wives to serve our country to the best of their ability. But that support often comes at the expense of the military spouse’s own career.

Cheryl Duckett with her young family

On average, military families move every 2.9 years, which makes finding and keeping employment difficult for many military spouses. In fact, more than six in 10 of military spouses are concerned with finding full- or part-time work outside the home, and when they are employed, military spouses make less than their non-military peers. That leaves more than eight in 10 military families concerned about their finances.1 Enter R. Riveter.

Founded in 2012 by military spouses Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse, R. Riveter’s mission is to create stable employment opportunities for military spouses by making and selling high quality, American-made handbags and other goods. In addition to 37 full-time staff, the company contracts with military spouses across the country—called Riveters in homage to the iconic Rosie the Riveter—to craft pieces of the handbags from their homes.

Bradley says she and co-founder Cruse have worked hard to build a business model that provides flexibility, independence, and a culture of “family first,” regardless of what that means to each employee and contractor.

“Just knowing that you’re coming to work with a lot of other individuals who put family first is comforting.”

For Riveters, who are provided with materials for the goods they make but use their own equipment and work from home, that means working during children’s naptimes, in car pick-up lines, or whenever is most convenient, Bradley says. For employees, that means R. Riveter’s workplace culture is one that embraces employees’ family lives.

“Just knowing that you’re coming to work with a lot of other individuals who put family first is comforting,” Bradley says. “For instance, I think in other employment situations, you would be concerned about taking a work phone call with a kid in the background. But that happens here, and it’s no problem. We’d rather have you plug in without having to worry or stress about it. And that keeps the work moving more effectively and efficiently, too.”

On top of culture, telecommuting has been highly successful for the company. Though R. Riveter has a flagship store in Southern Pines and manufacturing and warehouse facilities in West End, many of the company’s full-time positions are remote, and employees can plug in from wherever they are.

To make remote working successful, Bradley says employees have a shared digital calendar, which employees are encouraged to use and update frequently.

“If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist,” she says. The company also looks for employees who are self-starters and can work forward without a lot of supervision.

R. Riveter’s culture and flexibility have allowed the company to recruit highly qualified individuals who, as a result of their military lifestyle, may not otherwise be able to find employment.

“If I didn’t have R. Riveter, I would be unemployed,” says Cheryl Duckett, an executive assistant who’s worked for R. Riveter for nearly six years.

Since starting at R. Riveter, Duckett, who is currently stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, says she’s moved twice and will move again in March.

Cheryl Duckett and family

After a stint as a stay-at-home mom when her three sons—now 11, 9, and 8—were younger, Duckett says it’s been so rewarding to find work she loves that allows her the chance to use her background in accounting and provides the flexibility to care for her family as needed.

“I had a sick child today who needed to stay home. If I had an office outside the home, I would have had to take a day off. But since my office is right around the corner, I can work. That’s a huge, huge thing,” Duckett says.

For Bradley, having people on staff like Duckett, who has “single-handedly developed the finance committee” is proof that the R. Riveter system works.

For Duckett, knowing that her job will move with her wherever she goes is invaluable and has allowed her to feel like she can have a meaningful career, which is something that makes both her and her family proud.

“My kids and husband now see me in a different light. I’ve got a say in this company and where it’s going, and they notice that,” she says.

Sample Benefits at R. Riveter

  • Flexible schedules and remote work opportunities
  • Paid time off for full-time employees, with the ability to borrow from future time off for up to 40 hours each year
  • An employee discount program
  • Military leave, medical leave, personal leave, pregnancy and parental leave, jury duty leave, and bereavement leave.
Show 8 footnotes
  1. Saves employees time Increases job satisfaction Reduces reports of physical and mental fatigue Offers large benefits for disabled or temporarily disabled workers
  2. North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. “The Research Basis for Family-Friendly Workplaces.” June 14, 2018. Retrieved from: https://files.familyforwardnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NCECF_FFNC-policyfactsheet-061418.pdf
  3. Trask, Bahira Sherif. “Alleviating the Stress on Working Families: Promoting Family-Friendly Workplace Policies.” National Council on Family Relations Policy Brief. January 2017. https://www.ncfr.org/sites/default/files/2017-01/ncfr_policy_brief_ january_2017.pdf.
  4. Shockley, Kristen. “Telecommuting.” Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 2014. http://www.siop.org/whitepapers/scientificaffairs/telecommuting/telecommuting.pdf.
  5. Bond, James T., Ellen Galinsky, and Kenneth Matos. National Study of Employers. Society for Human Resources Management. 2017. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/National%20Study%20of%20Employers.pdf
  6. Bond, James T., Ellen Galinsky, and Kenneth Matos. National Study of Employers. Society for Human Resources Management. 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/National%20Study%20of%20Employers.pdf
  7. Executive Office of the President Council of Economic Advisers. “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility.” March 2010. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/files/documents/100331-cea-economics-workplace-flexibility.pdf
  8. Bond, James T. and Ellen Galinsky. “Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees.” Families and Work Institute National Study of the Changing Workforce. 2011. http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/WorkFlexAndLowWageEmployees.pdf