Has Telecommuting Reached Its Peak?
One of the many great technological advantages of the 21st century is the ability to telecommute. However, as we have seen in recent news with Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, telecommuting is not for everyone. Marissa Mayer’s decision to disallow telecommuting on the basis that it doesn't foster a collaborative environment has rocked the tech industry. It may seem like telecommuting has reached its peak and will gradually go away as employers follow Mayer’s lead, but there are still myriad benefits to telecommuting/remote work for businesses of all sizes. And as technologies are refined even further, it's clear that telecommuting is just getting started. Let's take a look at some of the ways that telecommuting can be beneficial to both employers and employees.
For the Employer
Having employees work from home reduces overhead costs associated with relocating new employees who may be out of the state, and renting additional office real estate to accommodate a growing business may also be avoided. Plus, features of virtual phone systems like mobile twinning allow customers or clients to get in touch with employees no matter where they are, saving you from lost contacts, missed calls, and other frustrations that could lead to a loss of revenue. Whether employees are in the office or taking calls from the local coffee shop, customers and clients can still call their office number and reach them via cell.
Studies have shown that telecommuters get much more work done at home than employees who work in an office. Researchers at Stanford University discovered that when a Chinese travel agency allowed their employees to work from home, they were thirteen percent more productive than when they came into the office.
Enhanced Employee Morale
Often, encouraging employees to telecommute shows that employers trust them to fulfill their duties and maintain high levels of productivity on their own. This can improve morale and create a happier, more loyal workforce.
Companies that allow employees to telecommute often report that their employees have dramatically less absenteeism than those that do not support working from home. In fact, telecommuters actually net more working hours than employees in the office!
For the Employee
Not many people have the luxury of working from home - at least not in the traditional sense. Working from home means that you will save yourself the cost of traveling to and from work each day, which can significantly cut into your earnings when factoring in fuel and the cost of maintaining your vehicle.
Health & Wellness
There are also several reasons why telecommuters are often healthier than office employees! For example, they are able to avoid the stress of commuting to and from work in a car or by public transportation. They also often sleep better and longer hours, and don’t have to worry about catching that cold or flu that is going around the office. In addition, telecommuters’ flexible schedules typically allow them to fit exercise into their day, and being in a relaxed environment allows them to do their best work.
There is also the added benefit of having more control over the activities in your life. When you aren’t commuting to work every day and stuck in an office from 9-5, you have more opportunities to accomplish tasks in your personal life that may have otherwise been put on hold until after the work day. Not only do telecommuters feel that they are able to complete their personal tasks, but they also have greater job satisfaction!
Only time will tell if telecommuting has reached its peak and employers will start to revert to the office policies of old. However, the emergence of VoIP and other technologies as a contending infrastructure shows promise for the future of telecommuting, and has yet to reveal all of the possibilities that can be achieved.Photo by Sam's Shots 1 via Flickr