Working from home-- it’s one of the fastest growing trends in the workforce today, and it’s easy to see why. While some companies, like Yahoo, are doing away with telecommute policies to foster more collaboration between employees inside the office, others are receiving huge benefits from allowing employees to work from their at-home offices. Here are just a few of the positive results that you can expect if you allow your employees to telecommute.
Save money on office space. This is the most obvious and immediate benefit. If your employees don’t need to work in your office, then you don’t have to have as large of an office or as much office furniture. For times when employees do stop in to work at the office, you can provide a few hotel workstations which can be used by any employee just for the day. There are even fold-up workstations that can be stored in a utility closet when not needed. A single cubicle for one employee can cost thousands of dollars, so companies looking to save money on furnishing their office will benefit from having to buy fewer desks.
Boost employee job satisfaction. What employee doesn’t appreciate having the option to telecommute? Your workers will enjoy eliminating their rush hour commute, working in comfortable clothes and getting the peace and quiet they need to stay focused. Plus, parents with babies will love saving money on child care and being able to shift their work schedule around to meet their child’s needs.
Reduce sick days. Often times, people don’t call into work because they can’t work. They call into work because they don’t want to get everyone else in the office sick. Working on a company project in your pajamas on your couch is a much more doable feat for employees dealing with a cold or other mild sickness, so you can expect your employees to take far fewer sick days when you allow them to work from home.
Reduce your carbon footprint. As we’ve already touched on, allowing employees to work from home will eliminate commutes to and from work, which is an obvious way to be environmentally friendly. But the carbon dioxide emissions that are reduced by telecommuters may be even greater than you think. In fact, technology systems company Cisco performed a study with its own telecommuters in which they found that Cisco employees stopped 47,320 metric tons of greenhouse gases from being released and saved a combined $10.3 million in fuel costs in 2007 alone. Now those are going-green results to be proud of.
Increase productivity. Are you surprised by this one? Many studies have shown telecommuters to be more productive when working from the comfort of his or her own home. One such study from Nicholas Bloom and James Liang was published in the Harvard Business Review, and it found that employees who worked from home for Chinese travel website Ctrip took 13.5% more calls than those working in the office. That comes out to almost an entire extra work day every week! The study also found that employees who work from home are far less likely to quit their jobs, which is another common trend amongst telecommuters.
Still not convinced that you should give telecommuting a try? To be fair, this work style is not for every business. There are some jobs that simply require frequent in-person meetings for which everyday telecommuting would make day-to-day work life difficult. If you’ve never implemented a telecommuting program in your business before, you may want to consider allowing a few employees to work from home just one or two days per month. Try it out for yourself and take note of what works and what doesn’t before going full-force with your work-from home policy.