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Study: Telecommuting Saves Money, Retains Employees, Decreases Absenteeism

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Today’s guest post by Tim Garrison highlights a study about telecommuting. The numbers show it’s great for business in a variety of ways: saving on expenses, increasing how long people stay with their job, and reduces how often they miss work.

The office supply store Staples released their third annual telecommuting survey. The report reveals that 71 percent of telecommuters consider teleworking an important benefit when considering a new job, with 19 percent indicating they would avoid a potential new job if telecommuting wasn’t offered. The overwhelming response to the question of why the option to work from home was important was this: to find a work/life balance that is less stressful.

Surprisingly, the results show allowing employees to work off-premise actually costs less, increases productivity and increases retention.

Telecommuting Saves Money

© Flickr user Jenn (Yana)

Employees Will Take Less Pay

Ten percent of respondents in the Staples survey said they would accept a pay cut in order to have the benefit of teleworking. This statistic was also confirmed by the consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, which found 36 percent of the survey participants would choose telecommuting in lieu of more money. This is a critical benefit from a recruiting standpoint. Employers willing to provide their staff with the tools needed to telecommute have a definite advantage in retaining talent.

Happier Employees Stay Longer And Are More Productive

A solid 69 percent of employees surveyed also cite reduced stress as a major telecommuting benefit, up from 48 percent in 2013. In fact, 88 percent of surveyed employees believe telecommuting is a win-win for both them and their company–and employers agree. According to Staples, which conducted the online survey of 137 managers and 174 office workers at organizations in the United States and Canada:

  • 65 percent of employers who allow their workers to telecommute report happier employees.
  • 33 percent of employers report less absenteeism in the workforce when telecommuting is allowed.

Happy Employees

© Flickr user AFGE

Additional benefits, according to the Mobile Work Exchange, include:

  • Business continuity.
  • Improved productivity.
  • Real estate savings.
  • Improvements in retention as well as recruitment.
  • Reduction of traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and wear and tear on public transportation.

How to Offer Telecommuting

First, from a human resource perspective, be fair. Kyle Jones, the HR manager at MegaGate Broadband, says offering telecommuting should be done for all positions and not case-by-case. “Allowing Employee A to telecommute while not doing so for Employee B–who is also in the same department working the same position–creates a variety of potential issues.” This is only one of many recommended implementation steps, controls and polices.

Second, from an information technology perspective, provide the tools and technology. Staples reported that experts recommend equipping the workforce by:

  • Ensuring easy access to e-mail, document sharing, instant messaging and video conferencing.
  • Making sure employees can connect into a Virtual Private Network (VPN), as well as data encryption.

Tim Garrison(Learn more on how to keep your company’s network safe and avoid cyber-attacks.)

This data might seem surprising, but what’s even more important is that telecommuting continues to grow. Talk to your team and think carefully about making the switch to remote work in your office.

Tim Garrison is a certified public accountant with over 30 years of experience as a controller and accounting guru. What you might not expect, however, is that Tim is also an avid mountain climber and outdoorsman. He’s quick to point out the similarities between scaling a mountain, and growing a business.

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