Teleworking isn’t just a great incentive for employees anymore; it’s an attractive option for many companies as well. While remote employees enjoy greater flexibility and decreased commute times, companies benefit from an at-home workforce in different ways.
Sick days, employee attrition rates, and local events can all affect an office’s stability. The San Francisco BART strike last July, for example, displaced 400,000 people from the public transport system back onto the roads. Commute times soared for office employees in the area. Teleworkers, however, were able to continue with their work with no time lost during the strike.
Aside from random events or weather that can rock an office worker’s commute, teleworking also allows the company to maintain stability through lower employee attrition rates. According to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, companies with teleworking policies have reduced absenteeism and increased retention rates. Teleworking simply allows for a better work-life balance and, when done well, can lead to higher employee satisfaction rates.
Companies ranging from JD Edwards to AT&T to American Express have seen greater productivity among their teleworking employees. Teleworkers at JD Edwards are 20-25% more productive than their fellow office workers, while AT&T teleworkers work an average 5 hours more per week. A Stanford University study found that at-home contact center employees increased their productivity by 13%.
It’s not just individual employees who are more productive, however. According to the Telework Coalition, managers are able to spread their time between more staff when working with remote employees at a ratio of 1:40 average in teleworking situations, as compared to 1:4 with office employees.
Lower overhead costs
At the end of the day, less employees in the office translates to less money spent on real estate, utilities, and other office expenses. Companies spend an average $10,000 on office space costs per worker, per year. In a PC Magazine article, John C. Dvorak argues that “a well-designed telework system can cut real estate costs by 25 to 50 percent.”
When a company does decide to open up a teleworking option, workforce technology can keep employees on-track and accountable. Combining these solutions with a comprehensive policy can help create a sustainable system that improves working conditions for both the employee and the employer.
What’s your take? Is teleworking an option for your business?