Why You Should Say “Yes” to Employee Telecommuting

February 23, 2016

Telecommuting has gained incredible popularity in the United States over the past few years. In fact, the typical telecommuter is no longer a working mother with small children – but men, women, parents, people without children, young and old are now participating. Companies of all sizes are beginning to offer telecommuting options as a normal benefit. Why? Because technology allows for it through video conferencing, cloud-based technology, and smartphone capability while offering profound benefits to both the employee and employer.

Here are a couple reasons why telecommuting is a win-win for the company and the individual, whether it’s at a full-time or part-time level:

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    <strong>1. Increases Productivity</strong>
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      One major misconception of telecommuting is that once employees are out of sight, they will slack off.  A Stanford University economics professor, Nicholas Bloom, conducted a <a href="https://people.stanford.edu/nbloom/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> in 2013 proving this theory wrong. Over a nine-month period in which he studied a Chinese travel center called Ctrip, Bloom found that the company’s at-home employees didn’t just “measure up” to the on-site employees, but outperformed them by 13%.
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        <strong>2. Reduces Turnover</strong>
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          Employees who are unhappy with their commute are more likely to call in sick or look for another company that will allow them to work remotely. Lost productivity due to absenteeism, tardiness, and unhappiness can cost a company thousands of dollars and that number can increase tenfold when the employee eventually quits. In the book Going Virtual, Going Green: A Manifesto, author Jared Seeger shares some interesting facts that demonstrate how working remotely increases employee satisfaction and happiness, thus boosting retention:
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            Two-thirds of people want to work from home
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            36% would choose working from home over a pay raise
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            80% of employees consider telecommuting a job perk
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          <strong>3. Eco-Friendly Alternative</strong>
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          Employee commuting can make up a big slice of a company’s carbon footprint. <a href="http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/technology/articles/pages/how-telecommuting-helps-the-environment.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Society of Human Resource Management</a> shares a story of three large companies that hones in on the environmental benefits of working remotely:
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          <em>“The telecommuting policies of Dell, Aetna and Xerox cumulatively saved 95,294 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions last year, which is the equivalent of taking 20,000 passenger vehicles off of the road, according to FlexJobs, an online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, freelance and other flexible jobs.”</em>
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          The environmental benefits go beyond the commute though. Companies will need less office space, which means smaller buildings and reduced energy usage associated with heating and cooling. Telecommuters will also use less paper, as electronic documents will be the most common form of sharing information.
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          <strong>4. Cost-Effective Approach</strong>
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          Last but certainly not least, offering telecommuting work arrangements is a cost-effective approach for both the company and employee. The employee gets to save on commuting costs, office attire, and daily lunches, while the company saves big bucks on employee attrition and providing parking funds.
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          <span id="docs-internal-guid-c918408d-0e8a-931a-8e3b-5d15c595c2d0"><em>Not only is telecommuting better for the world, but it strengthens a company financially and creates a more invested, balanced, and happy workforce. How has telecommuting changed your business?</em></span>
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