The Benefits of Telecommuting
Posted by JAMES PESTA
19 February, 2016
There are two schools of thought about people working from home; either they’ll slack off and get nothing done, or they’ll be happier, more productive and a bigger asset to their employer. You can break it down even more to old school thinking vs. new school thinking. And from the countless reports on the matter, the new school way of thinking is winning.
People that work from home — know as telecommuters — work on average five to seven hours more than their coworkers in the office. The amazing thing is that even though they are working more, 80 percent of telecommuters see the flexibility as a job perk. The Gen Y group of workers (those born from 1977 to 1994) are attracted to the flexibility of working from home and use it as a factor when applying for and accepting a position with a company.
As you can see, telecommuting gets people in the proverbial door, and it can help keep them there. Reports state those able to work off-site are nine percent happier than employees who don’t have the opportunity to work outside the office. That doesn’t seem like a large number, but when you consider that losing a valued employee can cost a company upwards of $30,000 you can see how it could add up quickly if an unhappy employee leaves the company. Stats like 46 percent of companies that allow telecommuting have experienced a drop in attrition proves that offering this perk is beneficial to both the employee and employer.
Employers can benefit from allowing telecommuting more than you think. Telecommuters take less sick days, and if they are sick, they’re at home and can’t infect the rest of your staff. Certain companies have said they calculated their teleworkers to be 35 to 40 percent more productive while a company like AT&T says they get roughly five more hours of work from telecommuters over their office counterparts.
Overhead costs are lower when you don’t have everyone working in an office. IBM estimates it saves $50 million in real estate costs and Dow Chemical and Nortel save more than 30 percent on non-real estate costs. It’s estimated that companies save roughly $11,000 annually on a worker who telecommutes and doesn’t have a physical office. Just the energy savings alone is amazing — a study conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association found that telecommuting saves enough energy to power one million homes in the United States for an entire year
Employees who telecommute report they have a better work-life balance and are able to live a healthier lifestyle. A study from Staples found that employees who worked from home experienced 25 percent less stress than those who headed into the office.
Technology has played a big role in how well people can do their job from home. With web-based meeting services and collaboration sites like Dropbox always improving their services, telecommuting will keep evolving to become a more cost-effective and efficient way of doing business.