Many employers may already be experiencing their baby boomer workforce starting into retirement, and the challenges of finding talent to replace them. It seems everywhere we turn, there is new information offered in the media indicating that most employers will find it difficult to attract the talent that they need to replace the retiring baby boomers. These predictions make it even more important for employers to not only find ways to attract new talent into their organization, but to retain existing talent within the organization.

As part of our enterprise risk management program, Westfield Group has begun the process of identifying and implementing strategies that will help our organization prepare for the future talent crisis. One of the strategies that we believe will help us mitigate this risk is to leverage our existing telecommuting policy. Telecommuting has already proven to be a viable work arrangement at Westfield Group. Westfield bases the use of telecommuting on the job function such as duties performed and reporting requirements. We review the following to determine if there is a good match ,employee’s performance, length of service, manager’s supervisory techniques, degree of supervision needed, and staff meeting schedules. Westfield Group establishes the number of days employees can work each week, the work schedule the employee maintain, and the manner and frequency of communication. The telecommuting employee must be accessible by telephone or modem within a reasonable time period.

A recent report by technology firm Gartner, Inc. revealed the number of employees worldwide who work from home at least one day a month reached 82.5 million by the end of 2005, which is double the figure from 2000. Further research indicates that flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting can reduce costs in office accommodation. Setting up a home office with hometype furniture can be much cheaper than furnishing offices. According to “No Place Like Home” enabling employees to telecommute two days a week can result in a 15 to 25 percent increase in productivity as well as decreased turnover, reduction in space requirements, and a decrease in sick-time usage by two days. This results in total savings per employee of an estimated $12,000 annually. Telecommuting has truly been a win-win situation at Westfield. Employees who may qualify for telecommuting seem to work harder to make it work, as well as having a tremendous sense of loyalty to the organization