Employers are offering more ways to work remotely

Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns

Dennis and Jennifer Chiang

While most workers seek more vacation time or the ability to take work from home in past decades, an increasing number of companies are now hiring at flexible times and are offering workers even less traditional travel options.

This year’s holiday travel season saw the number of domestic and international passengers choose to fly out of the country, rather than take a domestic flight, the airline industry’s most-watched consumer trend.

The number of domestic flights taken out of the country jumped by 2.1 percent to 2.5 billion in 2012 from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which collects data from flight data providers. The year-over-year increase is a marked improvement from 2011, when the number of domestic flights out of the country soared by 26 percent.

As air travel continues to be a hot-button issue in the U.S. and around the world, many employers are responding by adding new benefits and offering even more ways to work remotely.

“The more flexibility, the more work you can get done,” John Della Rocca, a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, said in an interview. He said that employers can either offer workers more flexibility through the use of flexible work programs, or by adding new benefits like flexible work hours or remote work.

“The real key is the flexibility,” he said. “If you have a company with lots of people who are working from home, that’s not going to be a bad thing.”

The move to offer expanded remote work

Della Rocca said many companies are offering more remote work options to their workers as a way to encourage them to stay home during the holidays and during the traditional school year.

“A lot of them have tried to offer some sort of vacation time, but it’s difficult to get people to go

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