At a time when we’re looking at reduced staffing in libraries, reduced salaries, reduced benefits, and reduced morale, it might be a good time to ask your boss about telecommuting (working from home) opportunities. Maybe your union could concede a 5% pay cut if every staff member gets two telecommuting days per month. Maybe you agree to a transfer or a reduction in health care if you get to work from home a half-day each week. I can tell you from experience that telecommuting is a positive thing: for both the employee and the employer.
I work from home 1 or 2 days per week. This was my only condition for getting hired at SJPL. I live two hours away, and even making that commute only 3 days per week is hell on earth. Every day I get to work from home is one more day I don’t go crazy.
To all the telecommuting haters out there: telecommuting works! It’s cheaper, increases productivity, saves energy, reduces traffic, and increases morale. Below are some stats you can use to convince your supervisor that telecommuting is a good idea!
The number of Americans who worked from home or remotely at least one day per month for their employer was 17.2 million in 2008. (WorldatWork Telework Trendlines 2009)
40% of U.S. employees hold jobs that that could be done at home (50 million). (Telework Adoption and Energy Use in Buildings and Transport Sectors in the United States and Japan)
The EPA estimated that $23 billion could be saved in transportation, environmental, and energy costs if there were a 10 to 20 percent increase in telecommuting. (EPA Study)
33% of Canadians would choose telework over a salary raise: 43% would quit for another job that allows telework. (Innovisions Canada)
Organizations could save 1 office for every 3 teleworkers (that’s about $2,000 per teleworker per year, or $200,000 per 100 teleworkers). With telework, AT&T saved $3,000 per office for approximately $550 million by eliminating or consolidating office space people no longer need. About 25% of IBM’s 320,000 workers worldwide telecommute from home offices, saving $700 million in real estate costs.
Dozens of reputable studies have proven that teleworking 1 to 3 days per week increases overall employee productivity by 10% to 45% — a great way to trim overtime and related costs. That means that 2 to 10 teleworkers (depending on your situation) equates to one “free” extra worker. The increase in productivity for half-time teleworkers would equate to over 5.5 million man years of work. Specific company stats are below:
- American Express telecommuters handled 26% more calls and produced 43% more business than their office-based counterparts.
- Compaq Computer Corporation documented productivity increases ranging from 15 to 45%.
- Surveys and pilots conducted by IBM Canada (where about 20% of its workforce teleworks) indicate that employees can be as much as 50 per cent more productive when they work in telework environments (Innovisions Canada)
Cisco saved over $277 million in productivity in one year by letting employees work from home using the company’s own virtual office technology. In addition, employees garnered fuel cost savings exceeding $10 million per year. (Cisco)
Gen Y’ers are more difficult to recruit (as reported by 56% of hiring managers) and to retain (as reported by 64% of hiring managers) but they are particularly attracted flexible work arrangements (ranked as 8 on a 10 scale for impact on overall job satisfaction). (The Edge Report, 2008 Robert Half International Survey)
72% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention. (1999 Telework America National Telework Survey)
Telecommuting programs reduce unscheduled absences by 63%. (16th Annual Unscheduled Absence Survey)
Productivity is hugely increased among telecommuters. And it’s not just the staff themselves who think so. Over two-thirds of employers report that supervisors view a measurable increase in productivity among their telecommuters. Specific company stats are below:
- AT&T workers work 5 more hours at home than their office workers (Chicago Sun Times, 10/99)
- JDEdwards teleworkers are 20-25% more productive than their office counterpoints (Chicago Sun Times, 10/99)
- American Express workers produced 43% more than their office based counterpoints (Colorado Telework Coalition)
- Compaq increased productivity 15% – 45% (Colorado Telework Coalition)
A great resource for more information on telecommuting is the Telework Research Network website. They offer a great deal of research, a huge list of pros and cons with statistics, and a lot of information for both companies and individuals wanting to telecommute more.