Are you a 49-year-old man or woman, earning around $58,000 a year, who belongs to a company with over 100 employees? If you answered YES, then you are the model child for the American “telecommuter,” according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey.
Telecommuting, a trend that is not only taking our country by storm, but the world! Gallup reports that in the United States alone, 37 percent of workers have telecommuted. I chatted with a local Nashville Project Manager in the Healthcare industry about her experience telecommuting.
How often do you work from home? Two days per week.
What are the benefits of telecommuting? Flexibility and increased work/life balance. Reduces stress related to commuting into work and fighting traffic. There is also more quiet time to do focused tasks where interruptions are not ideal.
Are there any disadvantages? There isn’t a set schedule on my team for which days each person is at home. Sometimes you can go a few weeks without seeing certain members of your team because of alternating work from home days. In some ways, it does impact team dynamics and feeling like a team vs. a group of individual contributors. And it’s difficult to set a schedule for everyone, because people usually come into the office or stay home based on their meetings for the day.
What kinds of technology does your team use to communicate while out of the office? Email, Skype, conference calls, texting.
Would you recommend other companies to incorporate a work from home option? Yes. Having flexibility to work from home greatly increased my level of satisfaction with my job. I am less stressed and more productive overall. I am also likely to stay with this company because it allows me to balance my work and my life in a way that is not possible with all organizations.
How would you describe your company culture? Collaborative and inclusive. Relaxed but professional. The main priority is getting your work done, but they don’t micromanage how you do it. The workforce is highly engaged and talented. Leadership trusts employees to do their work, and there is a level of transparency that is refreshing.
As the project manager mentioned above, there are many benefits to telecommuting. Check out some more below!
It’s cost effective for the employee AND the employer.
Not only do your employees save money by eating lunches at home, buying less “work clothes”, not having to commute to work, it’s less resources consumed in your facilities, reduced number of printed materials and a multitude of other overhead expenses that are saved by your company.
There are health benefits, too.
Workers that telecommute can return to a work from home environment quicker after sickness, injury or surgery. Caregivers are allowed a more flexible schedule allowing them to juggle multiple responsibilities, both personally and professionally. Staples conducted a study in 2011 that revealed employees were 25% less stressed working from home than in a traditional work environment.
It boosts productivity.
…. along with boosting autonomy and empowerment! Our project manager above stated that she is more likely to stay with company because of flexible schedule allowing her a work-life balance. She is not alone, a study conducted in 2014 found that at-home workers were more than 50% less likely to quit their jobs. The same study found that telecommuters completed 13.5% more calls than those working in the office which totaled to be on average another full work day a week out of telecommuters.
Weigh your company’s costs and benefits of telecommuting. Of course with everything, there is another side of the coin. Telecommuting doesn’t always allow for some aspects of a company culture, trust among management could not always be viewed as strong, and working relationships are not always easy to maintain. Employees must be self-motivated to make this model successful. It’s a discussion that needs to be had among employees and company management. After all, 36% of employees would choose telecommuting over a pay raise!
Does your company allow telecommuting options? We would love to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Ashley Metivier
Activities Coordinator, NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT)