Telework programs offer significant benefits to employers. Following are a few of the main reasons why teleworking is good for employers and the environment:
Save office space and reduce costs
Companies can save significantly on office space and parking for each employee that works remotely (the Telework Coalition estimates the cost of office space for the average worker to be $10,000 per year). Future growth would also not be limited by available office space.
Enhance employee productivity and work/life balance
Several studies and reports on telework provide evidence of 15%-45% gains in productivity when employees work from home. Employees become more productive when they telework because there are fewer distractions, minimal (if any) socializing, and less stress. Teleworkers also usually have a greater sense of control over and responsibility towards their work, which definitely contributes to a better work product and satisfaction.
Reduce absenteeism and help maintain operations
Teleworkers and mobile workers can work in bad weather, when children are home sick or during school closings, and in other instances where regular employees might instead take a personal or sick day. Reducing unscheduled absenteeism can save large employers over $1 million per year and increase staff morale overall.
Telework programs also enable both large and small companies to maintain their operations during times of emergency, severe weather events, or when there are concerns over health epidemics (e.g., swine flu).
Increase employee retention and help attract new staff
Happier employees are usually better employees, and telework definitely increases employee job satisfaction and, thus, loyalty. Telework programs also help companies retain employees with common circumstances such as needing to care for sick family members, starting a new family, or needing to relocate for personal reasons. Reducing turnover saves on considerable recruiting costs.
Telework is also an excellent incentive when looking for additional skilled staff in occupations that are high in demand. One-third of CFOs in one survey said that a telework program was the best way to attract top talent.
Help save the environment by eliminating commuting time
Companies can do their part in promoting a greener world through establishing remote work programs. Fewer commuters mean fewer cars on the road, which translates to less air pollution and reduced fuel consumption. The Climate Group for the Global e-Sustainability Initiative indicates that telework and technologies such as online video conferencing decrease tons of carbon dioxide each year.
What employers can do to implement a teleworking (telecommuting) program:
- Determine if teleworking is already happening on an informal basis
- Find an executive champion to help secure upper management commitment for a pilot program
- Form a steering committee to develop formal program policies and parameters
- Determine technology and voice needs
- Train managers and teleworkers
- Assess the program
- Integrate telework into your organization’s Emergency Management/Business Continuity plan