Jordan Green probably misses a lot of bagels, doughnuts and other office treats brought in by employees to celebrate various occasions. That's because the information technology specialist for Hare dealerships in suburban Indianapolis works from home several days a week.
When he isn't working from home, Green flits between the company's Honda dealership in Avon, Ind., and its Chevrolet store in Noblesville, Ind. — a man without a fixed desk or cubicle.
"It's great," Green said. "I don't always have to drive an hour round trip for work, so I save on gas. And it's a lot less stressful because I don't have to run around and go somewhere to fix something. I can even pull over and stop at a coffee shop, log in and fix problems remotely."
Hare is one of a growing number of Best Dealerships To Work For that allow some employees to telecommute. This year, 59 of the 100 dealerships on the list said they offer telecommuting. That compares with 33 percent for dealerships that applied but didn't make the list. By comparison, not quite one-third of the 100 dealerships on the list in 2014 offered telecommuting.
"That trend is not a surprise," said Peter Burke, president of Best Companies Group, which independently reviews submissions for Automotive News to determine the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For. "The labor market and demographic are changing, so dealerships must come up with more creative ways to engage workers with things like telecommuting, compressed workweeks and other flexible work arrangements."
Why try telecommuting? With the Internet and digital technology making it easier than ever, telecommuting can save money and help increase employee retention. Even so, many dealership jobs aren't suitable for working from home — it's impossible to repair vehicles remotely, for instance. Even dealerships offering telecommuting tend to do so only for certain roles and under limited circumstances.
At Hare Honda, the practice began this year, and eight of 97 employees now have telecommuting privileges. They work in human resources, IT or customer relations. Most don't have scheduled telecommuting days and do it on an as-needed basis, said Marcus Schuh, general manager.
"We want to provide more flexibility for employees and savings for the company," Schuh said. "Now if someone has to stay home, we don't have to hire any extra people to fill in ... and we don't have to put the burden of that extra work on other people."