There is an undeniable trend of businesses increasing their home-based and telecommuting workforce
Over the past 10 years, the number of employees that work from home on a regular basis has grown by over 80%, representing over 3.3 million U.S. employees, or 2.6% of the total workforce. If you add part-time home workers to that figure, the number jumps to 20%, with Fridays being a particularly popular day for telecommuting. Businesses of all sizes are increasing their work-from-home workforce and for good reasons, probably the most important one of which is that employees love it.
During the recent Telework Week sponsored by the U.S. Government, average participants saved an average of 4.5 hours per week in commuting time by teleworking 2 days per week. If that was extended for a full year, those workers would save $4,500 in commuting costs and reclaim nearly 10 full days of their lives back from sitting in traffic. The telework trend is here to stay, and it is only accelerating, as there are just too many benefits to businesses and their employees.
Reasons Businesses are Increasing Their Remote Workers
Some of the business benefits that are cited by companies for embracing the growth in telecommuting include:
Productivity – According to a recent Harvard Business Review Article, some businesses are seeing more than a 13% productivity increase and lower turnover among home workers. Employees self-report being much more productive due to lower numbers of interruptions and fewer non-productive meetings.
Recruiting & Retention – Global Workforce Analytics says that 95% of employers say telecommuting has a high impact on employee retention. Providing work-from-home flexibility is high on the list of items key employees seek. Employees are asking themselves if they would rather be stuck in traffic or catching their child’s soccer game at 5:00 p.m. The company that offers them that opportunity to do the latter while trusting them to get the job done will differentiate itself both during the hiring process and also when it comes to retention.
Lower Real Estate Costs – More workers are telecommuting, at least, part-time means smaller offices and significant savings. Coinciding with the move to open office spaces, the increase in teleworking is triggering a projected reduction in square footage per employee by 33% between 2010 and 2017.
Improved Communications Tools – Five years ago there were a lot of managers who were hesitant about encouraging employees to work from home due to concerns about productivity and team cohesiveness. With the rise of Unified Communications, mobility, web and video conferencing and cloud-based business apps, those concerns have abated.