Telecommuting has plenty of pros and cons. It takes a special breed of employee to be effective when working at home, and it requires a great deal of trust from the employer.
Here are some of the reasons you should consider allowing your employees to work from home:
People like to work from home. It just doesn’t seem so much like work when you’re sitting on your deck in your bunny slippers, working on a laptop. Employees who work from home are more available to their families, better able to control diet and exercise, and are generally more well rested and less stressed.
People who can work at their own pace and in their own time will work when they are most productive. There are fewer distractions and interruptions, and workers feel trusted, valued, and more engaged.
Studies have shown that a significant number of people would pass on a pay raise in exchange for working at home. Which makes sense, when you think about what they will save in commuting costs, in wardrobe, in time spent getting ready for work and commuting, and in other costs associate with work, such as eating lunch out and dry-cleaning. The employees cut down on payroll, common office expenses like coffee, water and electricity, and the employee gets a less stressful environment where she feels more in control of her life.
Cut down unscheduled absences
Most people who call in sick…aren’t. They may need extra rest, have an appointment that will take a few hours, have a sick child, or simply feel too stressed out to deal with work. A 2010 survey by HR consulting firm Mercer found that unscheduled absences add up to a staggering 8.7% of total payroll costs. For a single employee pulling in $35,000 per year, that’s $3,045. Telecommuting reduces unscheduled absences by more than 60%.
Real sick days
Employees who come to work with a bad cold can take down the entire office. While it makes more sense to take sick days when you’re sick, some people can’t afford to take off the 10 days it takes to stop being a germ factory. And what about the days immediately before you get sick, when you’re feeling just a little under the weather? When it might be a mild allergy coming on or a full-blown case of toxic flu that will require hazmat suits and barrels of disinfectant. Workers with the option of working from home, at least part-time, keep their germs to themselves.
Finding and attracting talented people is difficult. Virtual teams extend your talent pool from your local area to the entire world.
The rising cost of fuel is a growing concern for commuters, and fossil fuel emissions are on the rise. Stay-at-home employees reduce pollution, reduce the traffic, and generally make the roads safer.
Working from home isn’t an option for every position, but today’s technology – virtual networks, online file sharing, cell phones, and cheap VoIP service – makes it feasible for almost any job that isn’t centered on walk-in customers.