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Telework!Va Metro Richmond Market Viability Study. Prepared By Southeastern Institute of Research Spring 2004.

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telework va metro richmond market viability study

Telework!VaMetro Richmond Market Viability Study

Prepared By

Southeastern Institute of Research

Spring 2004

slide2
The Telework!Va is a transportation demand management (TDM) program offered by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to encourage businesses to offer teleworking programs.
  • First launched in Northern Virginia, Telework!Va offers participating businesses up to $35,000 in incentives to start or expand a formal telework program - $3,500 per employee. Incentives are limited to reimbursement of home computer work station lease costs, consultant/technical assistance expenses, and training for teleworkers and supervisors.
  • Applicants must demonstrate their willingness to start a long-term program, invest in the staff resources required to sustain a program and commit to an implementation schedule with appropriate milestones of two (2) years or less.
  • Telework!Va initial pilot program in Northern Virginia was successful. Telework!Va will now be rolled out in the Hampton Roads and Richmond markets.
  • More information on Telework!Va can be found at www.teleworkva.org
slide3

Study

Background

&

Methodology

background methodology
Background & Methodology
  • A quantitative online researchstudy among corporate decision makers of large and small businesses in the Richmond area
    • Sample supplied by the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
  • Interviewing conducted April 22 – May 11, 2004
  • This report based on 299 completed interviews
  • Maximum statistical error (at 95% confidence level) is +/- 5.7%
study objectives
Study Objectives
  • The overall objective of this research study is to assess the viability of launching Telework!Va in the Metro Richmond market.
  • Specific research goals include:
    • Quantify the potential demand for Telework!Va
    • Identify the ideal corporate prospects for Telework!Va
    • Provide input into the ideal packaging and bundling of the existing Telework!Va services
    • Identify the most meaningful selling messages and communication channels for program roll-out
profile of richmond employers included in this study
Professions:

Professional Services: 25%

Sales/Customer Service: 15%

Finance/Investment: 11%

Manufacturing/Distribution: 10%

Marketing/Advertising: 8%

Phone/Communications: 2%

Government: 2%

Engineering/Architecture: 2%

Other: 24%

Job Titles:

President/CEO: 45%

General Manager: 12%

HR Director: 4%

Chairman: 2%

CFO: - 1%

Other: 35%

Average Number of Employees:

250 Employees

Gender:

Male: 68%

Female: 32%

Average Age:

49 Years of Age

Profile of Richmond EmployersIncluded In This study

60% C-Class Respondents

92 of richmond employers rate the area s quality of life favorably 40 rate it excellent
92% Of Richmond Employers Rate The Area’s Quality Of Life Favorably40% rate it “Excellent”

Q 1: Overall, how would you rate the quality of life in the Metro Richmond area?

slide9

Many Employers Believe Richmond Area Has An Air Quality And Traffic Congestion Problem44% say air quality problem and 55% say traffic problem

Q 2/3: Do you believe an air quality/a traffic congestion problem exists in Metro Richmond?

over a third feel employee productivity is affected by traffic congestion
Over a Third Feel Employee Productivity Is Affected By Traffic Congestion

Q 5: How would you describe the affect transportation/daily commute issues have on your employees?

Q 6: How would you describe the affect traffic congestion has on your employees’ productivity?

slide11

The Larger The Company, The More Likely They Are To Feel The Affects Of Transportation/Daily Commute Issues On Their EmployeesWhile Company Size Has No Bearing On Views Of Employee Productivity Chart reflects responses of ‘high’ and ‘medium’ only

Q 5: How would you describe the affect transportation/daily commute issues have on your employees?

Q 6: How would you describe the affect traffic congestion has on your employees’ productivity?

slide12

The Older The Manager, The Greater Sensitivity He/She Has To The Affects Of Traffic Issues On EmployeesChart reflects responses of ‘high’ and ‘medium’ only

Q 5: How would you describe the affect transportation/daily commute issues have on your employees?

Q 6: How would you describe the affect traffic congestion has on your employees’ productivity?

most employers feel a responsibility to help resolve area congestion air quality problems
Most Employers Feel A Responsibility To Help Resolve Area Congestion/Air Quality Problems

Two-thirds (68%) say high & medium

Q 4: How much responsibility do you believe an employer has in helping to solve congestion and air quality problems in the area?

slide14

Larger Companies Feel More Of A Responsibility In Resolving Area Congestion & Air Quality ProblemsChart reflects responses of ‘high’ and ‘medium’ only

80%

Q 4: How much responsibility do you believe an employer has in helping to solve congestion and air quality problems in the area?

yet few employers 10 currently offer their employees work commute assistance
Yet, Few Employers (10%) Currently Offer Their Employees Work Commute Assistance

Q. 7: Does your company currently offer any type of assistance, other than free parking, that help employees with their work commute?

slide16

Key Finding # 1:Manyarea employers believe Metro Richmond has congestion/air quality problems and believe these issues affect their workforce. Over half feel some responsibility in addressing these issues. Yet, few offer employees work commute assistance programs.

Strategic Implication:

Position work commute assistance programs and Telework!Va as easy and sensible ways employers can act on their sense of responsibility and, in doing so, directly benefit themselves.

slide17

Work

Commute Assistance Programs

slide18

Of The Small Minority That Offer Programs, Flex Time And Telecommuting Are The Most Popular Work Commute Assistance Programs*Among only those (12% of total) who currently or used to offer employee work commute assistance*

Q 8/8a: What type of programs does/did your company offer to employees to assist with their work commute?

* Data represents only 33 respondents or 12% of the total sample – small base for analysis

many find their commute assistance programs effective for recruiting retention and productivity
Many Find Their Commute Assistance Programs Effective For Recruiting, Retention, And Productivity*

Q 9: How would you rate the overall effectiveness of your employee commute assistance programs in terms of the following business concerns?

* Data represents only 33 respondents or 12% of the total sample – small base for analysis

strategic implication link work commute programs telework va directly to employer benefits

Key Finding # 2:Commute programs, among those that do offer them, have a positive reputation. The majority of current employers who offer these programs feel they are effective for recruitment, retention, and enhanced employee productivity.

Strategic Implication:

Link work commute programs/Telework!Va directly to employer benefits

slide21

Existing

Telecommute

Programs

slide22

Both Formal And Informal Telecommute Programs Are Offered To Richmond Area Employees*Among only those who currently or used to offer employee work commute assistance*

Q 11: What type of telecommuting program does/did your company currently have or previously had?

* Data represents only 15 respondents or 5% of the total sample – small base for analysis

slide23

Employers Who Offer Telecommuting To Their Employees Report An Average 25% Of Their Workforce Currently Telecommutes*Definition: Employees working at home or telecommute center, during some or all of their regular working hours at least 8 days a month

* Employers who offer an informal program report an average 36% of their workforce telecommutes. Employers who offer a formal program report an average 16% of their workforce telecommutes. However, due to small sample size, no statistically significant difference can be concluded from these findings.

slide24

Office Space Savings And Employee Retention Lead the Way As Perceived Benefits Of Telecommuting ProgramsMore so than recruitment and productivity

Retention

Productivity

Recruitment

Q 15: What do you see as the major benefits of a telecommuting program?

slide25
Companies That Currently Offer Work Commute Assistance Programs Have Even A Greater Appreciation Of The Benefits Of Telecommuting

Q 15: What do you see as the major benefits of a telecommuting program?

slide26

Key Finding # 3: Telecommuting programs work! Employees participate and employers see direct benefits in space reduction, retention, and increased productivity.

Strategic Implication

Bring specific telecommuting benefits - space reduction, retention, and increased productivity - to life in the Telework!Va marketing program. Establish and package initial success stories.

slide28

While There Are Many Reasons Companies Hesitate To Offer Telecommuting Programs, The Biggest Concern Centers Around Managing/Performing Work

Cannot affect

Does the work get done?

Soft

Q 14: Why do you not currently offer a telecommute program to your employees?

slide29

Many Of These Reasons Are “Concerns” Based On Perceptions. They Are Not Issues Based On Facts Or Experience. Example: Employee Interest…

slide30

Employers Feel That Only A Third Of Their Employees Are Interested In A Telecommute Program…but…Many Are Uncertain Of Their Employees’ Interest In Telecommuting

Q 17/18/19: What are your employees’ current attitude about telecommute programs?

slide31

From A 2001 Resident Study, We Know That 60% Of Richmond Area Employees Are Interested In Telecommuting (At Least On An Occasional Basis*)

Q. If your company allowed it, would you be interested in working from a location other than your central workplace on a regular/occasional basis?

* Source: SIR Research/FH 2001 Telework Study

slide32

Key Finding # 4: There are many different barriers to employer-acceptance of telecommuting programs. Managing/producing work are the biggest perceived roadblocks. This and other reasons, however, may be based on misperceptions, not actual experience.

Strategic Implication

Address concerns head on with facts and unassailable evidence. Special attention should be accorded employee supervision/productivity and appreciation of cost-benefit (ROI) of a telecommute program.

slide34

In the questionnaire, respondents were presented with a comprehensive description of the Telework!Va Program that will be launched in Metro Richmond. Based on this…

37 are interested in the telework va program
37% Are Interested In The Telework!Va Program

Q 21: Now that you have an understanding of the program and its accountability requirements, how interested would you be in participating in this Telework!Va Program if it were available to you today?

financial and professional services are most likely to be interested in telework va
Financial and Professional Services Are Most Likely To Be Interested In Telework!Va

Q 21: Now that you have an understanding of the program and its accountability requirements, how interested would you be in participating

in this Telework!Va Program if it were available to you today?

slide37

While 37% Expressed An Interest In The Program, A More Realistic Long-term Market Potential Is 12% Applying A Discount Model To Level of Interests Suggests That The Potential Market For The Telework!Va Program in Richmond Could Be As High As 12%

Demand Discount Model

A more realistic potential for market demand

can be obtained by applying a standard

demand forecasting discount model where

market potential equals 50% of those who

say they are “Very interested” plus 25% of

those who say “somewhat interested” in

the product concept.

Q 21: Now that you have an understanding of the program and its accountability requirements, how interested would you be in participating

in this Telework!Va Program if it were available to you today?

slide38
Two Out Of Five Executives Feel The Telework!Va Incentive Program Would Motivate Their Company To Look Into A Telecommute Program

Q 32/33: How likely would this program be to motivate your company to expand/begin to look into a telecommute program?

29 of senior management executives said they would personally support telework va
29%* Of Senior Management Executives Said They Would Personally Support Telework!Va

* Note: Management in this study skews to the highest c-class level.

Q 30: If Telework!Va came to your attention, would you personally work to see that it was considered for implementation in your company?

small and big business senior management would support telework va implementation in their company
Small and Big Business Senior Management Would Support Telework!Va Implementation In Their Company

Q 30: If Telework!Va came to your attention, would you personally work to see that it was considered for implementation in your company?

there is no one reason that others are not interested in telework va open end reponses
There Is No One Reason That Others Are Not Interested In Telework!VaOpen End Reponses
  • We have other priorities
  • The nature of our work would be better suited for 5 days per month per employee
  • The way we currently operate would have to change and this change will be a big cost and not so sure how effective
  • Don’t want the government messing with our business unless absolutely necessary
  • Do not sense that transportation is a big issue for our employees
  • Hassle outweighs the benefit
  • Senior management is not a proponent of telecommuting and the benefits offered by this program would not affect their attitude
when asked for suggestions for improvement three out of five say nothing in particular
When Asked For Suggestions For Improvement, Three Out Of Five Say “Nothing In Particular”

Q 29: Are there any changes or improvements that you would like to suggest to make Telework!Va more appealing

to you or your company?

slide43

Key Finding #5: Over a third (37%) of companies are interested in Telework!Va. And 40% ofsenior management* feel the Telework!Va. program would motivate them (their company) to consider telecommuting, and one-third of the executives would personally support this cause!

Strategic Implication:

Launch Telework!Va in Richmond. Leverage high-level personal interest in the program among c-class executives.

*Management in this study skews to the highest c-class level.

a majority find all telework va program accountability requirements reasonable
A Majority Find All Telework!Va Program Accountability Requirements Reasonable

Q 20: How reasonable would you say are the accountability requirements necessary for program participation?

slide46
Many Uninterested In Telework!Va May Not Know Enough About Telecommuting Programs To Know If the Requirements Are Reasonable

Note the “Don’t Knows”

Q 20: How reasonable would you say are the accountability requirements necessary for program participation?

slide47

Key Finding # 6: Most executives find Telework!Va program accountability requirements reasonable. Those not interested, may not know enough about these kinds of commute assistance programs to rate the related requirements of Telework!Va.

Strategic Implication:

The basic Telework!Va Program, as currently structured with its current accountability requirements, can work!

slide49

Telework!Va’s Financial Incentive Is Most Important In Garnering Business InterestOn a scale of 1 – 5, where ‘1’ is “Most Appealing”and ‘5’ is “Least Appealing”

  • Incentive Level – Up To 10 Employees or $35K 1.7 average
  • Program Development Assistance 2.9 average
  • Equipment Lease 3.3 average
  • Online Training/Educational Assistance 3.4 average
  • IT/MIS Technical Assistance 3.5 average

Q 23: Looking at specific aspects of the program, which are most important to you in your interest in the Telework!Va program?

in fact half think a financial incentive is absolutely necessary
In Fact, Half Think A Financial Incentive Is Absolutely Necessary

Q 24: Do you think a financial incentive is absolutely necessary to motivate companies to seriously consider implementing a telework program?

even those uninterested in the program feel a financial incentive is necessary
Even Those Uninterested In The Program Feel A Financial Incentive Is Necessary

Q 24: Do you think a financial incentive is absolutely necessary to motivate companies to seriously consider implementing a telework program?

younger respondents find financial incentives absolutely necessary
Younger Respondents Find Financial Incentives Absolutely Necessary

Q 24: Do you think a financial incentive is absolutely necessary to motivate companies to seriously consider implementing a telework program?

over half feel 35k is sufficient to motivate companies to adopt a telecommute program
Over Half Feel $35K Is Sufficient To Motivate Companies To Adopt A Telecommute Program

Q 26: Do you think $3,500 per employee (up to $35,000) is sufficient financial incentive to motivate companies to adopt a telecommute program?

slide54
Development Assistance Is Also AppreciatedAlmost A Third Look For All Types Of Assistance To Ensure A Successful Program Implementation

Q 28: Understanding the need for assistance in setting up a telework program, please rate your company’s need for the following types of telework assistance to ensure a successful program implementation.

slide55

Key Finding #7: “Show me the money” - it’s first and foremost about capturing the incentive money. However, program development training is also important.

Strategic Implication

The lead message in promoting Telework!Va should center around “the availability of financial incentives.” Include secondary program development/assistance benefits as added value.

slide56

Ideal Target

Employer

Prospect For

Telework!Va

the ideal prospect
The Ideal Prospect

CEOs/presidents…In both big and small companies…Who are more likely to be aware of Metro Richmond’s air and traffic congestion issues…Who believe these issues affect their employees…Who feel they have a responsibility to do something about it…And, have already started to offer some form of commuter assistance program.

the ceo or president is the primary decision maker for telecommuting program approval
The CEO or President is the Primary Decision Maker For Telecommuting Program Approval

Q 35: Who would be the principle person(s) to decide to go forward with a telecommute program?

both small and big business management support telework va implementation in their company
Both Small and Big Business Management Support Telework!Va Implementation In Their Company

Q 30: If Telework!Va came to your attention, would you personally work to see that it was considered for implementation in your company?

slide60
Those Interested In Telework!Va Program Are More Likely To Be Aware Of The Area’s Air Quality & Traffic Congestion Problems

Q 2/3: Do you believe an air quality/a traffic congestion problem exists in Metro Richmond?

slide61

Employers Interested in Telework!Va Realize The Affect Of Traffic Issues On Their EmployeesChart reflects responses of ‘high’ and ‘medium’ only

Q 5: How would you describe the affect transportation/daily commute issues have on your employees?

Q 6: How would you describe the affect traffic congestion has on your employees’ productivity?

slide62

Four Out Of Five Interested In Telework!Va Feel A Responsibility To Help Solve Area Congestion & Air Quality IssuesChart reflects responses of ‘high’ and ‘medium’ only

Q 4: How much responsibility do you believe an employer has in helping to solve congestion and air quality problems in the area?

employers currently offering assistance to employees are more interested in telework va
Employers Currently Offering Assistance To Employees Are More Interested In Telework!Va

Q 21: Now that you have an understanding of the program and its accountability requirements, how interested would you be in participating in this Telework!Va Program if it were available to you today?

and telework va s ideal prospects have a more acute understanding of telecommuting benefits
And Telework!Va’s Ideal Prospects Have A More Acute Understanding of Telecommuting Benefits

Q 15: What do you see as the major benefits of a telecommuting program?

slide65

Key Finding # 8:The ideal prospects for the Telework!Va Program are CEOs/Presidents of both small and big companies who see the issues related to air quality and traffic congestions and who have experience in work commute assistance programs.

Strategic Implication:

Focus initial outreach efforts on the CEOs/Presidents of companies with existing commute programs and on companies already signed up for Ridefinders’ Ozone Action Days.

slide66

Best

MarketingChannels To PromoteTelework!Va

direct mail and personal selling are the best ways to advance telework va
Direct Mail And Personal Selling Are The Best Ways To Advance Telework!Va

Q 36: What is the best way to reach these people about this program?

slide68

Key Finding #9: Top management prefers learning about Telework!Va through a direct appeal as opposed to an advertising campaign.

Strategic Implication

Focus Telework!Va outreach on high-level personal visits and follow-up letters to senior management.

recap key strategic implications
Recap: Key Strategic Implications
  • Launch Telework!Va in Richmond. Leverage high-level personal interest of c-class executives in the program.
  • Do not amend the basic Telework!Va Program Incentive Package– it can work as it is currently designed, even with its accountability requirements.
  • Position Telework!Va as an easy and sensible way employers can act on their sense of responsibility and directly benefit themselves.
  • Link Telework!Va directly to work commute programs and employer benefits.
  • Promote Telework!Va’s financial incentives as the lead program feature. Include secondary program development/ assistance benefits as added value.
recap key strategic implications70
Recap: Key Strategic Implications
  • Address concerns head on with facts and unassailable evidence. Special attention should be accorded employee supervision/productivity issues and the appreciation of cost-benefit ROI of the telecommute program.
  • Focus initial outreach efforts on the CEO/President of companies who currently offer work commuter assistance programs and companies that have already signed up for Ridefinders’ Ozone Action Days.
  • Focus Telework!Va outreach on high-level personal visits and follow-up letters to senior management.
  • Crawl, walk, run…establish success with several high profile Metro Richmond area companies before launching an aggressive program roll-out.