Over the years at PGi, I’ve had the same conversation with executives and managers in a variety of fields about telecommuting. They say that telecommuting doesn’t work for their company, their industry or their people. They feel like they have to see their workers to know they’re doing what they’re being paid to do.
This isn’t just an antiquated model of thinking. It’s wrong, and a backwards approach to business leadership in the modern age of web conferencing, mobility and cloud-based collaboration. Work is not a place.
Technology has made it easier for us to connect and collaborate from anywhere. And remote, flexible and telework options have been on the rise. We’ve all become more mobile due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and for many industries telework has gone from a nice-to-have to an essential component of business culture.
While it’s easy for leadership to get caught up in the idea of employees wasting their time at home, goofing off instead of working, the opposite is in fact true: between 20-40% of supervisors report that their teleworking employees complete tasks in less time and at a higher level of quality than their office-bound counterparts. This is due in no small part to a better worklife balance, created from telework benefits like skipped commutes and flexible hours. Rather than being stuck in traffic or missing important family events, teleworkers can work and live more on their own terms.
…and so do Employers
Beyond enjoying increased worker productivity, there are benefits for business owners too, of course. For employers, telecommuting is one of the best ways in today’s business climate to attract and retain top talent. Flexibility is highly sought-after by today’s job applicants, and many would turn down higher wages in favor of telework options.
There are also real estate and office equipment expenses to consider. The average business would save up to $11,000 on office expenses per year for every part-time telecommuting employee—a staggering $700 billion annually in the United States alone.
Ultimately, it’s time for the tangible, measureable benefits of telework to smash the antiquated preconceptions of home workers watching TV with their feet up on company time. Teleworkers are happier and more balanced, leading to increased productivity and reduced costs—everybody wins.
For more telecommuting statistics covering both employee and employer benefits, download PGi’s free eBook “The Yin + Yang of Telecommuting.”