Yahoo made headlines this year by imposing a telecommuting ban. The move opened a national dialogue about working remotely – one that demonstrated (Yahoo notwithstanding) just how prevalent remote work has become.
Best Buy, British Telecom, and Dow Chemical have found that their remote employees are between 35 and 40 percent more productive than their office-bound counterparts. Third-party research has borne this out, as well.
And productivity gains – discussed in more detail below – are just the tip of the iceberg. What follows are some additional reasons to put telecommuting to work in your business.
Improved Employee Satisfaction, Reduced Sick Days
Research shows that 36 percent of people would rather work remotely than get a raise. A similar proportion would even take a pay cut of 10 percent if it meant they could work from home.
Of course, employee satisfaction can manifest itself in many different forms, none more so than absences. More than 70 percent of employees who take sick days aren’t actually sick but are taking time off due to personal issues. People who can work from home with the help of cloud applications would have more flexibility to manage these issues, and as a result would not need to call in “fake” sick days.
With absences costing the US economy $576 billion annually, there are substantial savings to be realized by making flex time an option. The American Management Association actually managed to reduce employee absences by 63 percent after it adopted home working practices.
Increased Employee Productivity
Statistics gathered by the Telework Research Network suggest that distraction in the workplace can cost businesses $600 billion a year. Sun Microsystems, meanwhile, found that employees working at home use 60 percent of the time they would have spent commuting actually doing work. And AT&T says that it gets five hours more work per week from its home workers than those in the office.
A Chinese company conducted an experiment to see if remote work and productivity gains could be correlated. Ctrip, hoping to save money on real estate in Shanghai, asked half its employees to work remotely, whilst the remainder came into the office. The results showed that the home workers who were using cloud-based applications and remote access technology were actually 13 percent more productive than those who remained in the office.
Stanford economist Nick Bloom says that there is a very real reason behind increased productivity when working from home:
“In the office, it’s very noisy; you can hear the guy next to you on the phone or the person across the desk crying because their boyfriend has just split up with them. It’s horribly distracting.”
By letting employees work remotely, companies can enjoy huge cost savings:
- Real estate costs fall by an average of $10,000 per employee.
- Travel and transportation costs plummet.
- Spending on utilities, equipment, parking, maintenance and janitorial services decline.
Diminished Environmental Impact
The business case for using the cloud and remote working technology is already strong – and there is also a knock-on effect for the environment. If just half the workers in the US who were able to work from home did so, it would result in:
- An annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 54 million tons.
- 119 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled each year.
- A decline in annual oil consumption of 640 million barrels.
The Consumer Electronics Association views telecommuting as part of the solution to climate change. According to the CEA, remote work could save between 9 and 14 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year. That is enough energy to power 1 million homes.
Employees of the US Patent Office tried remote work in 2007 and saved more than 600,000 gallons of gas, reduced their carbon emissions by nearly 10,000 tons, and spent $1.8 million less on transportation.
It goes without saying that there are some very compelling arguments for letting employees work from home. Technologies like RingCentral are instrumental in making remote work possible – RingCentral offers a number of different solutions, including the Office cloud-based phone system and RingCentral Fax, to help connect far-flung workers.
Have you embraced remote work yet?
Article facts and numbers compiled and authored by Jemma and the Coupon Chili team. The Coupon Chili website has a dedicated RingCentral page, including coupons and referral codes. Click here for more information on those offers.
Originally published Sep 10, 2013, updated Aug 07, 2020