Yahoo and Best Buy have just called their telecommuting employees back into the office. But more Virginia companies are letting their employees telecommute. Now Capital One is hiring people specifically to work from home.
Erica Trout, a manager with the Virginia Recycling Association, has done her job from home for nine years.
"I'm keeping track of the memberships for them, taking phone calls, updating the website," she told us.
Trout connects with co-workers through a computer and a phone.
Sure, this mother of two says, there are distractions at home, but here's how she stays focused: "I try to have set office hours each week and that helps the people I work with, even if its in a virtual office, it helps them know I'm going to be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 3:00."
Yahoo and Best Buy have just told their teleworkers to return to the office. Yahoo's memo stated that "speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work at home."
But Trout disagrees. "There's no birthday cake in the conference room, there's no chit chat in the hallway, there's no 'How was your weekend?' It's just very efficient."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor found a quarter of survey respondents worked at least part time from home. And the Virginia Tax Department says last year 171 companies were approved for a new tax credit to defray the cost of buying workers computers and equipment to work at home.
In fact, the companies qualified for a total of $4,311,576 in credits. But the credit is capped at $1 million. So those companies will all get an average of $276 per teleworking employee.
Now Capital One is recruiting specifically work-at-home customer service representatives. Said David Wright, a Vice-President with Capital One, "They can work a number of hours that works for them. What we get from this is we get people that have tremendous capabilities but just need more flexibility than traditional job offers, so it's a win-win."
Trout says telecommuting is a win-win for her and her employer. "I know for myself, when I am being treated with that amount of flexibility from my employer, that's how much more I give back to them."