Here's Another Reason You Could Be Working but Aren't
So. Here we are in the day and age of internet; a utility that has created countless benefits- one of which is telecommuting. In case you don't know, telecommuting is any job in which technology makes the need for a commute to an onsite workplace obsolete. These days, it's not hard to think of employment sectors where telecommuting works beautifully. Take customer service call centers, for example. By allowing employees to work from home, there is no need for a company to rent out large amounts of office space and keep up with the neverending expense of office supplies. On the other side of the coin, employees no longer have to make costly commutes and may even be able to eliminate childcare costs. Financially, it's a win-win situation.
Yet, in these hard economic times when both businesses and the Average Joe are hurting, the US still lags in implementing this very cost effective option for maintaining productivity and keeping people employed. According to research from the Telework Network in June of this year, telecommuters only make up 2% of the US workforce as compared to 4% in Canada and over 5% in the UK. Unfortunately, Americans and American businesses still view working from home as a perk rather than a standard business practice. While other countries have managed to evolve and let go of the outdated notion that work is not 'work' unless it's performed right in front of other people, we simply… haven't.
In one instance, the data showed that between the reduction of office space and energy costs, one company could save $16,000 per employee. In another case, the number neared $11 million overall. In addition, companies in the UK that implement telecommuting report an increase in employee productivity by 20-30%. So why the hesitance to do something that even by just allowing employees to work one day from home would save a company hundreds of thousands every year? Because most companies and their employees still want to measure performance by how many hours are spent at the office- not by results.
It's likely that telecommuting will eventually catch on in the US; however, it would seem with the hard times that just about everyone is eking through, it would be quite auspicious for businesses to create these win-win situations. Until attitudes change and results-based management becomes the norm, I guess we all just sit here and wait for things to get better on their own. Fabulous.