Telecommuting, which emerged in the workplace initially during the 1970s, has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past few years largely due to technology advancements. Today, more and more organizations are allowing employees to work from home, including the federal government.
By now you are well-versed in the many benefits of telecommuting. You may even recognize that you’re the perfect fit. So how do you confidently approach your boss if telecommuting isn’t a standard practice where you work? Here are some talking points to get you started:
More often than not, telecommuting makes better workers. One of the by-products of telecommuting is that it fosters a work ethic from the inside out; studies since the 1990s have consistently documented that working from home increases a worker’s productivity. This increase is reported not only by the workers themselves but by their supervisors as well. If your boss needs more proof, here are some additional statistics:
- Home-based workers from Best Buy, JD Edwards, and American Express are 20% to 40% more productive than employees who travel to work.
- Remote employees take less time to complete tasks and usually produce higher quality work.
- Teleworkers at American Express companies generate 43% more business volume than their office counterparts.
Source: Suite Commute
Telecommuting is rapidly becoming one of most attractive benefits a company can offer potential employees, and the potential is already there. Studies have revealed that 40% of US employees (approximately 50 million workers) currently hold jobs that that could be done at home and in 2008, 17.2 million American employees worked off-site at least one day per month. The burgeoning Generation Y workforce is often reported as being both more difficult to recruit and to retain (as reported by 56% and 64% of hiring managers, respectively); nevertheless, they are attracted to flexible work arrangements (ranked as 8 out of 10 on a scale for impact on overall job satisfaction). (The Edge Report, 2008 Robert Half International Survey). Want more evidence to prove to your boss that companies need to telecommute to compete?
- According to a 2006 Hudson Index survey on worker productivity, nearly 60% of employees believe that telecommuting at least part time is the ideal work situation.
- 33% of Canadians would choose telework over a salary raise; 43% would quit for another job that allows telework.
- 72% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention. (1999 Telework America National Telework Survey)
- Telecommuting programs reduce unscheduled absences by 63%. (16th Annual Unscheduled Absence Survey)
Need more proof? Telecommuting is great for the planet. The fewer people who drive to work, the less traffic and traffic-related stress, tailpipe emissions and GHGs enter the atmosphere. By eliminating the commute and creating a work environment in your home, you can make a huge impact on our planet’s health and longevity. Consider the following:
- In a recent study, the EPA estimated that $23 billion could be saved in transportation, environmental and energy costs if telecommuting increased by 10 to 20%.
- On average, each US worker commutes an average of 10,000 miles per year; altogether, the office workforce consumes a whopping 67 billion gallons of gas annually. Because telecommuting reduces total vehicle miles traveled per year by more than 35 billion, it represents a conservation of almost two billion gallons of gas , which adds up to a significant reduction in our fossil fuel dependency.
- Telecommuting also enables employers to reduce their office space, office energy use and real estate costs.
- Telecommuters decrease redundant purchases of certain office supplies, including toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissues, etc. Employees who work at home also don’t require duplicate office equipment, such as landline phones (though a smartphone is a “must have” as a telecommuter), fax machines, office chairs and numerous other office equipment that would eventually wind up in landfills.
- Telecommuters tend to use less paper by saving files digitally and in the cloud, thus reducing storage space, the need for larger office or storage buildings and, of course, trees.
Is your boss concerned that you will fritter away your day on Facebook if you work from home? Explain that established security control solutions (such as firewalls, DLP and secure Web gateways) are available for new capabilities related to social media management and security. By approaching your boss or company with a full-dimensional proposal for telecommuting in hand—and being prepared to alleviate any concerns—you will demonstrate your knowledge, responsibility and commitment to increasing the company’s productivity and reducing its budget. A great resource for more information on telecommuting is the Telework Research Network website. They provide general research and information for both companies and individuals wanting to incorporate a telecommuting practice into their corporate culture.
Do you currently telecommute? How did you get started?