If you think that your life would be easier and more productive if you didn’t have to brave traffic to drive to work everyday and deal with daily office politics… well, you’re right. Telecommuting is great for people and incredible for business. If you want to present the idea to your boss, cite this information. Or, if you are the boss, take this into consideration when you think about why you’re so stringent on having everyone in the office everyday.
Why Telecommuting Works
1. Less Real Estate: And, this equals lower expenses for businesses. Imagine if you could cut down on the office space needed to house your employees. How much would you save in business expenses over the course of the year? It’s not that you have to get rid of office space altogether, but perhaps downsize. Of, if you do go the route of getting rid of office space, there’s plenty of options now for temporary work space as needed in most major cities. That’s just not all when it comes to cost savings. For a management role, having that person telecommute slashes business costs by up to 70%. Why? It’s not just the space then it’s all the equipment in the space. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical business would save $11,000 USD per person per year. Now, what if you have 50 employees? You do the math. AND, the employees themselves would save on average $2,000 – 7,000 per year.
2. More Happiness: Seriously. Between less stress commuting, more time with family, ability to wear whatever the hell you want, ability to be in surroundings that make you the most productive (I hate white walls, overhead lighting and office buildings are typically freezing so I’m the idiot with a space heater in summer). Working in a traditional office is largely unproductive most of the time. When’s the last time you were in a 4 hour meeting that was productive? For productive people, office environments make them unhappy.
3. More Productivity: Studies have shown huge increases in productivity when telecommuting is implemented. A lot of this is even attributed to improved health which results in more energy. Sitting in traffic, buying typical convenient food lunches and workplace stress are leading causes of our ever-declining health and obesity epidemic.
4. Less Pink Eye: Germs in the typical office are gross. I’ve contracted pink eye from work places. You probably have too…among other things. Things like office phones have more germs than the bathroom. With today’s stringent sick day policies most people go to work sick and contagious half the time they are sick. They feel that they have no choice. And, sometimes they don’t if they run out of “sick days” since corporations tell you how many days per year you can be sick, and typically when. If you accrue sick days then you might earn about .67 per month. So you need to wait until next month to have a full day to take get sick.
5. Less Pollution: For anyone looking to save the world, this is a no brainer on so many levels. In fact, if U.S. employees could commute just 1.5 days per week, it would save 1.35 BILLION gallons of fuel per year. And, people use less energy at home than in an office. This also reduces our dependency on foreign oil so it helps with overall national security. According to Global Workplace Analytics, oil savings would equate to over 37% of our Persian Gulf imports. AND, less money spent on gas for employees so they make more money. If you need more of an incentive to save the world just watch this video.
6. Less Rush Hour: Enough said. #RoadRage
7. Better Management and Leadership: You may wonder, how?! That doesn’t make sense?? How will we oversee and control our employees??? Well, for starters, that type of mentality is a bigger issue. If you can’t trust your people to do their job then why did you hire them? When employees get treated like adults, not babies, they flourish and do very well in their jobs. When everyone is in the same location, it’s much easier to micromanage (i.e. baby treatment). Aside from that, working remote gives way to much clearer meeting schedules, due dates and project flow. In today’s tech world there’s endless digital options to perform, track projects, track time and be efficient. When employees are enabled to do what they need to do, they will flourish beyond belief. If they don’t then they just aren’t a good fit for the organization.
8. Safety First! People without time constraints are much more relaxed when they drive. In fact, most traffic accidents happen when people are on the way to work. It’s stressful. They have to be there at a certain time. They are judged no matter what time they walk in. When people telecommute there’s a sharp decrease in accidents and tickets.
9. Sanity: Let’s be honest here, most offices are full of people that you find super annoying. And, why wouldn’t you? When you spend that time time around people they are going to get annoying. It’s just like a marriage. Imagine not having to deal with the stench of the bathroom on your floor or the aggravating way that Eunice leaves the coffee maker on all day and never cleans it. How less annoyed would you be if you didn’t have Margie asking you how to use the copy machine every damn day? By Fridays even the slight lisp that Beatrice has seems to be all you can hear throughout the floor and you’re ready to rip your ears off.
According to Global Workplace Analytics only 2.6% of employees consider home their primary office. However, since 2005 telecommuting has grown almost 80% (with a slight decline during the recession). In a quarter of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, more people now telecommute than use public transportation as their principal means of transportation to work. In addition:
- 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time (WorldatWork Telework Trendlines 2009). 87% of federal employees say they want to (2013 Federal Viewpoint Survey)
- Our estimate based on the current labor force composition is that 64 million U.S employees holds a job that is compatible at least part-time to telework (50% of the workforce).
- Taken together the above number suggests that 50 million workers both could and want to telework.
What’s your take on telecommuting? Love it? Hate it? Comment below.