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Five Benefits of Telecommuting | How WFH benfits Employers

Feb 18, 2014
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With technology in the palm of our hands, it seems as if we can work from anywhere, anytime. Granted, there are jobs that have less flexibility to telework, however, many are more than capable to make the switch from on-site to any-site. If you’re still trying to figure out if it makes sense for your organization, let me share a few reasons why teleworking works.

1. Attraction
We’re all competing for the same talent. Wading through the pool of talented candidates is tricky and you’ve got to make sure you’re ready to sell, sell, sell the opportunity. If you want to compete for talent, you must provide mobility options.

2. Retention
Exit interviews provide a lot of data as to why your employees are leaving. You might be surprised to learn that lack of flexibility is in the top 3 reasons an employee chooses to quit. You may not be able to provide a higher salary or better health care benefits, but if you can create an environment where teleworking is an option, you may find that employees will grasp that and hang on. Teleworking strikes a work/life balance that is hard to resist and significantly harder to give up.

Global Workplace Analytics read over 500 teleworking related studies and summarized the following:
• Losing a valued employee can cost an employer $10,000 to $30,000.
• Recruiting and training a new hire costs thousands of dollars.
• 14% of Americans have changed jobs to shorten the commute.
• 46% of companies that allow telework say it has reduced attrition.
• 95% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention.

3. Productivity

The long and crazy commute is also in the top 3 reasons an employee leaves one job for another. Driving an hour to work, one way, is miserable. It’s often a waste of time. That hour spent in the car could be used more efficiently working from home. I know from experience; commuting is a terrible waste of resources (time, energy and sanity). I live in the Washington DC area with some of the country’s worst traffic. I may be 20 miles from my client’s office, but it can take me an hour or more to make that drive. And how do I spend that time? —Typically wishing I were somewhere else while dialing into conference calls from my “car office.” Allow flexibility and find that your productivity rates increase.

Global Workplace Analytics reported the following:
• Best Buy, British Telecom, Dow Chemical and many others show that teleworkers are 35% to 40% more productive.
• Over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters.
• Sun Microsystems’ experience suggests that employees spend 60% of the commuting time they save performing work for the company.
• American Express workers produced 43% more than their office-based counterparts.

4. Meetings
Ahh, meetings. We’ve all been to meetings that go off topic and drag out. When meetings are scheduled as a conference call or are web based, we find that they tend to start on time and stay on topic. We all have a million things to do and a long meeting doesn’t facilitate our day.

5. Performance
As productivity increases, so does performance. In fact, because you are working with virtual teams, performance measurement becomes more accurate. Leadership is more aware of what’s getting done and what’s lagging behind. Instead of showing your face, you are showing off your work product. And if you’re not performing, it will be obvious. Clearly, HR and leadership will institute telework policies to measure and account for expectations. However, performance will no longer be about showing up to work on time. Or even face time for that matter. It will be about results.

Your organization may have restrictions that inhibit you from allowing such a policy. However, it is encouraged to find a way to allow for some form of flexibility. That could mean working 4, 10-hour days and having one day off each week. It could mean working core hours in the office with flexibility on arrival and departure to account for traffic. You could provide other options as well.

Teleworking, telecommuting, working from home, working from Starbucks…whatever you call it, consider it a strategy for savings across the board. Saved time, energy, and expense. It’s worth the effort to make teleworking work.

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