Telecommuting started to grow in popularity in the early 2000s and has expanded rapidly since then. Now, around 40 percent of workers claim to telecommute consistently. The reason for this is not only because of the growing demand for employees to have more flexibility. One study states that around 80 percent of Americans shared they would like to telecommute at least part of the time during their workweek.
American companies recognize the many benefits of more flexible work environments and where the future of business is headed. While most assume telecommuting only helps employees, it positively impacts employers as well. The bottom line is telecommuting can save businesses money. These savings come in the form of reduced costs per head, boosts in productivity that generate more revenue, and flexible wages.
How Telecommuting Has Grown Overtime
Telecommuting is not just attractive to the younger Millennial generation. The average telecommuter is 49 years old, brings in about $58,000 a year, and telecommutes at least two days per month. Today, 9 percent of workers report that they telecommute more than one-third of the time each month. Since 1995, telecommute workers have increased from 9 percent to 37 percent. Even more significant, since the surge began in 2005, telecommuting has increased by a whopping 79 percent.
How Telecommuting Boosts Employee Satisfaction
Contrary to the old belief that working from home will decrease productivity, recent statistics show more faith in telecommuters. Fifty-six percent believe that remote workers are just as productive as traditional workers, and 24 percent believe those who work from home are more productive than their counterparts. Compared to 1995 when 47 percent thought telecommuters could be productive, 58 percent now believe the same.
Increases in Productivity
Telecommuters are proving why the type of work environment is growing, and why more companies are jumping on board. Depending on the type of work, many employees who telecommute are more focused on their jobs. They’re also more likely to devote more time than the traditional workweek. Studies show employees who work from home are 53 percent more likely than non-telecommuters to contribute more than 40 hours a week. On average, they put in five to seven hours longer than traditional workers.
Improvement in Work-Life-Balance
Studies show 80 percent of workers claimed telecommuting allowed them to more effectively master work-life-balance. Because of the flexibility that telecommuting gives, employees are also able to take care of personal business without missing work. They can schedule work around their appointments or take care of emergencies without having to call in or miss the whole day.
Sick days are also offset since employees are more likely to continue working from home while sick versus missing a day in the traditional office. Seventy-eight percent of workers are call in sick because of stress or personal issues. Having more control over work-life-balance contributes to a less stressful work environment. Employees who can telecommute report 25 percent lower stress levels.
Increased Sense of Loyalty Among Employees
Employee satisfaction is connected to employee loyalty and retention rates. Employees who telecommute because they want to are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and stick around. According to one study, 76 percent of employees who are allowed to work from home are more loyal to their companies.
Financial Benefits of Businesses that Incorporate Telecommuting
Telecommuting opens more opportunities to generate revenue and save money. Stanford University states telecommute workers are 13 percent better at making the most of their time than traditional employees, but that’s not the only way companies win. In addition to employees being more satisfied and producing more work from home settings, businesses can scale back in multiple ways.
Save Money on Company Expenses
Implementing telecommute work allows companies to expand their pool of recruits. Companies reap the benefits of hiring across the globe and using talent remotely. They can do this while also reducing the need for travel, therefore cutting company expenses. Employers can hold interviews, training, meetings, and conferences in a virtual setting through internet and video. This provides drastic savings for businesses by cutting back on travel expenses.
Businesses can also cut costs by reducing expenses like office space, supplies, utilities, and employee accommodations. By one company allowing at least 100 employees to work from home, they saved $1 million dollars per years on expenses. By even allowing just one employee to telecommute, companies can save $10,000.
Looking back at telecommutes causing an increase in employee productivity, the increased production puts money in the business’s bank account. For example, American Express telecommute employees took more calls and produced 43 percent more potential business than in office employees when given the chance to work from home. Alpine Access credits their telecommute workers for drastic improvements in their business. Their home-based workers increased sales by 30 percent and decreased complaints from customers by 90 percent.
Save by Introducing More Flexible Wages
In addition to saving money on supplies and overhead costs, you can also save on employee salaries. Depending on the position, some companies can offer per piece rates, lower per hour rates, or rates without consideration for benefits. Some employees are also willing to trade salaries in the place of working from home. One content writer negotiated having a lower salary and still producing at least 40 hours of work in exchange for not reporting to the office every Friday.
Workers are more likely to accept non-conventional payment terms in exchange for the flexible work setting because of their savings benefits also. Telecommute employees save money by not having to drive to work, buy lunch, and pay other out-of-pocket expenses associated with traveling to the office. Specifically, employees who work from home can save $6,800 on expenses they no longer need to pay to commute.
Telecommuting can be a financial and lifestyle benefit for businesses and employees if done right. For companies and staff to successfully incorporate telecommuting, there must be structure. Employers must continue to keep communication open even when employees are working outside the office. Find a sensible, fair way to hold telecommuters accountable and monitor productivity. Overall, businesses stand to gain from keeping up with the innovative trends of increasing telecommuting.