Ever considered allowing some of your workers to telecommute? The practice has multiple benefits – from reducing your company’s environmental impact to increasing productivity.
When it comes to applying for jobs, many young professionals consider work flexibility as important as salary and other benefits. As a recruitment tool, embracing telecommuting can be very a great benefit for job seekers.
You’d certainly be part of a trend, as virtual workers are on the rise: more than 30 million people already work from a home office at least once a week, according to a study by the Telework Research Network, and experts believe that up to 63 million people will work from home by 2016.
Virtual workers reduce costs:
An August 2012 survey from Telework offers illustrative numbers on the environmental impact that would take place if those who have compatible jobs worked from home half the time:
- The oil savings would equate to over 37 percent of our Persian Gulf imports.
- The greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.
Wondering how your workers might fare? Check out the following online telecommuting calculator (from GovLoop, with the help of HP) that uses information from a variety of studies and federal databases to break down the savings into the categories of money, time and pounds of carbon dioxide. For example, say you’re an SUV driver with a 30-mile, one-hour round-trip commute, who only travels to the office twice a week.
According to the calculator:
- Money saved: $6,170 per year
- Time saved: 156 hours of productivity
- Greenhouse gas reduction: 4,196 pounds per year
Businesses can help their bottom line, too: Govloop says the average employer spends about $10,000 in energy, real estate, and production costs per employee annually. Administrative expenses, such as the need for desktop computers, office furniture and land lines, also could be reduced with a telecommuting workforce.
Ready to take the plunge? Here are four tips for initiating a virtual work schedule into your organization:
Decide who can effectively telecommute.
Before you allow the entire office to telecommute, figure out which functions make sense for a work-from-home schedule. If someone is in a more collaborative role, they may hurt productivity if they are out. But it might make perfect sense for a salesperson, who can work on the road most days.
Decide what the schedule should look like.
There’s no need to go all or nothing with telecommuting. Consider easing into it by having one day a week that is a telecommute day and see how it goes. Workers probably would be more effective telecommuting in the middle of the week, keeping Monday and Friday available for kicking off and ending the week with meetings or other team projects.
Set clear expectations for the team.
Make sure that workers are equipped with what they need, such as a landline and high-speed internet, to do their jobs effectively. Also have an agreement about what hours they will be available to the team. Ensure they realize that working from home is “working,” not doing chores or childcare.
Check in on a regular basis.
You don’t want to feel as though you are micromanaging your telecommuting employees, but there also is a case to be made for ensuring that they know they are being held accountable.
Most workers love a telecommuting option because it improves their work/life quality and for that reason they are apt to be highly committed to getting their job done successfully. Giving them the option when it makes sense can help improve their commitment to the company while improving the environment and your company’s bottom line.