The work-at-home movement is taking off within the business world. Already, it is estimated that 30 million professionals in the U.S. are working from home at least once a week. According to a study by the Telework Research Network, that number is expected to increase by 63 percent in the next five years. While The Jacobson Group has had a few employees working from home for over a decade, we just officially launched a companywide telecommuting program.
Jacobson has come face to face with some immediate growing pains after expanding far beyond what we originally anticipated when we signed the lease for our new Chicago headquarters a few years ago. While this is a good problem to have, the reality is that we are running out of desks for all of our exceptional employees and are implementing a work-at-home policy for qualified staff.
So what are the organizational advantages of introducing a telecommuting program within your organization? Here are four ways work-at-home can benefit your company:
- Growth in employee morale: From the grinding commute to the struggle for work life balance, a number of challenges are affecting employee engagement. With a Gallup survey reporting that 63 percent of American workers are unhappy with their jobs and 24 percent actively hate their jobs, increasing employee happiness is a critical issue for many employers. Fortunately, the opportunity for telecommuting—whether full-time or just a few days a week—has shown to reduce stress and provide a tremendous boost in employee morale. In fact, employees that are given the option to work-from-home are 73 percent happier with their employers. That morale boost often results in employees becoming more invested in the companies they work for!
- Improved recruitment capabilities: Flexible work options top the list of requirements for many job seekers. For Millennials, in particular, having a flexible workplace is a highly sought after job perk. Professionals who have experienced telecommuting programs are more likely to seek out these work arrangements in their next opportunity. Having a work-at-home program allows your organization to better position itself among today’s candidate pool. In addition, telecommuting allows organizations to choose from a much larger talent pool, as they are able to look outside of their current city and recruit talent regardless of physical location.
- Higher employee productivity: Contrary to popular belief, employees actually increase their productivity when they are allowed to work from home. According to a study from the University of Texas, telecommuters worked 5-7 hours more than their in-office counterparts. Both employees and supervisors report that they are more effective at home, where they are away from common interruptions and distractions. For positions that require some face-to-face time, instituting a work-at-home policy with days split between home and the office allows the organization to reap the same productivity benefits while enabling staff to maintain professional and social relationships with their co-workers.
- Increased cost-efficiency: Organizations are poised to save big money when implementing a telecommuting program. With telephone routing capabilities, VPN networks and cloud computing, the cost of starting a work-at-home program is minimal. It is estimated that a company can save $11,000 a year for each employee who works at home. Organizations have even reported up to 30 percent reductions in overhead after instituting a telecommuting program. With office space ranking high on the list of top business expenses, being able to cut back on the space and furnishings required for in-office staff is an immense cost savings for organizations utilizing telecommuting.
Recognizing the numerous benefits that result from work-at-home programs, many organizations are instituting their own practices. Whether your company is looking to save costs or increase morale, a telecommuting program may be a great solution.
Have you instituted a work-at-home program? What benefits are you seeing from this initiative?