An Industry Pioneer in Teleworking. (Hint: It’s Not Tech)

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Remote work, telecommuting, distributed work or plain old working from home–whatever you call it, the flexibility to start your work day in your PJs is a growing trend. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 50% of the US workforce has a job where they can work from home at least part of the time and about 20-25% of the American workforce does so with frequency.

Telework is a growing but not new concept. There’s no shortage of remote engineer, programmer or similar tech jobs in companies like IBM, Dell and Red Hat. But knowing how to code isn’t the only way to get yourself in the door of a company with the most appealing commute ever: bed to “workplace” in minutes flat. (Shower, optional.)

One of the less obvious places to look for remote jobs? The same place you might search for worldly adventure, global mobility and envious travel perks: an airline. Jetblue was among the first companies offering work-from-home arrangements dating back to 1999. Back then, Jetblue’s founder, David Neeleman, found a way to cut costs, improve efficiency and increase morale in one fell swoop. Equipping agents with a home computer replaced an expensive call center while simultaneously boosting employee satisfaction. At the time, this was really an innovative opportunity for stay-at-home moms seeking flexible part-time work. Employee attraction–as well as retention–soared. After launching this at-home model for agents, the company saw a 25% increase in productivity.

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According to ViaSource, a company that provides work-at-home solutions, more than 12.5% of Jetblue’s workforce (as of September 2013) take advantage of this worklife flexibility–just one perk amidst many incentives including free and discount standby flights.

How do you earn your telework status? To become an at-home reservation agent, successful applicants spend four weeks in training, learning everything from the JetBlue booking system and policies as well as overall industry regulations and the level of customer service touted in JetBlue’s infamous Customer Bill of Rights. It’s a system that’s been serving the company well for more than 16 years now.

Happy agents, happy customers? Could the remote model be the secret behind JetBlue’s J.D. Power awards for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction” 12 years in a row? Just another way integrating work and life can lead to better results for employees and for companies.

Does your company provide flexible work conditions? If yes, do you find it motivating? And, if no, how much would it change your job satisfaction if working from home were possible? Leave a review and share your thoughts on the topic. Maybe you’ll help push teleworking to a new high–into even more industries.