Bank of America rethinks teleworking


Like many companies, Bank of America slowly but surely embraced teleworking as a workplace strategy.

The bank launched a "My Work" program in 2005, and it has expanded significantly ever since. The benefits for employees are fairly obvious. Those with suitable jobs, the lack of commute and the flexibility was nice. For the bank, it was a way to save money and promote environmentally sound workplace policies. But as the pressure to keep costs low mounts, the bank is rethinking the program.

According to the Charlotte Observer, "the bank has asked department managers to determine which job categories would better serve the bank by having workers come into the office…Specific changes will vary depending on the line of business, the Charlotte bank said Tuesday. Some new employees may be told they are not eligible to work from home until they've worked at the bank for a year. Others may lose the ability to work remotely altogether. Workers who will be affected are being notified in the next several weeks."

The bank apparently also "intends to curtail the practice of informally allowing employees to keep an office at a bank location while spending much of their time working remotely."

The issue first and foremost is cost. If the programs are not saving the company money, executives will be less likely to support them. Indeed, unless these sorts of programs are done right, the savings could easily prove elusive. Some employees may end up with a laptop and desktop, a smartphone as well as a desk phone. The teleworking software and security issues are certainly not trivial from a cost perspective.

For employees, this is disconcerting to say the least. For many, this will be a life-altering change. But at a time like this, they'd be wise not to complain.

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