Telecommunications and computer technology makes it possible for a portion of the workforce to work from home instead of driving to the office every day. Teleworking (also known as telecommuting) can be done on a full-time, part-time or occasional basis. And there are even companies that operate entirely by telework such as Aleutian Corp. who is based in Ottawa but has IT specialists working across North America.
Benefits of telework:
Fewer interruptions, less absenteeism, the ability to work outside of regular office hours, and the elimination of commuting time all contribute to higher productivity levels. Clarity Innovations reports that that telework cuts absenteeism by 20%. Global Workplace Analytics found the average increase in productivity ranged from 15% – 55%. Cisco Systems noted that 69% of their employees reported higher productivity when working remotely.
Enhance employee recruitment and retention.
Employees who telework at least part of the time cite a strong desire to stay with their employer. In addition, a telework program for new employees is equally as attractive. A poll by EKOS Research found that 33% of Canadians would choose to work at a company that offers telework rather than receiving a salary raise, and 43% would quit their job to work somewhere that allows them to telework. Add to the fact that telework also offers the employer cost savings for new hires and training, and telework becomes a very attractive commute option.
In a large compensation survey (1,400 CFOs) conducted by Robert Half International, 33% said telecommuting was the best way to attract top talent.
Reduce need for office space and parking spaces.
Dedicated office space is not required since telework employees can share work space. Facility management costs for office space, amenity space and parking requirements can all be reduced. Think about this: your organization could save 1 office for every 3 teleworkers – that’s about $2,000 per teleworker per year, or $200,000 per 100 teleworkers. For example, Sun Microsystems saved $68 million per year in real estate costs, $3 million per year in reduced power consumption, and $25 million per year in IT expenditures (source).
Lower employee relocation needs.
Teleworking has the unique advantage of being able to avoid relocation costs that would otherwise be required due to job changes, corporate restructuring or facility moves. According to the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, the average cost to relocate an employee within Canada is $53,500, or $125,000 for international assignments.
Enhanced employee motivation and satisfaction.
Telework is a great morale builder. Giving employees more control over their own time management, decisions and deliverables adds to their level of motivation and job satisfaction. According to research by Global Workplace Analytics, 36% of employees would prefer the option to telework over receiving a raise. A survey of nearly 2,000 Cisco teleworkers revealed that 91% of respondents noted telework is somewhat or very important to their job satisfaction (source).
Improve work-life balance and productivity.
Work-home life conflict is the leading cause of Canadian job dissatisfaction– but not for teleworkers because they have a large amount of control over when and how they work. Some prefer the early hours of the day while others work best in the late hours. This time flexibility makes it possible for them to better meet personal and family commitments without taking leave time. A study from Info-Gen Research found that telework helps employed parents balance work and family commitments better than those who did not work from home.
Think about the amount of time spent driving to and from work. A half-hour commute each way adds up to a startling six work weeks a year! By avoiding the commute, teleworkers have more time to use for either personal or corporate benefit, or both. The total yearly commute of average Canadian workers equates to 6-8 full work weeks!
Better access to jobs for persons with disabilities or in remote locations.
Teleworking makes it possible for workers with a physical disability or those located in a remote community to offer their skills to your business. A study from Think Beyond the Label revealed that 81% of workers with disabilities would like the option to telework at least part of the time.