Working from home is becoming a more widely accepted as more and more professionals move from the corporate corner office to the flexibility of a home office. With modern technology it is becoming less important for many professionals to put in an appearance at the office
and more practical for them to work from home
using computers, the internet, telephone, fax, and other modern technologies to ‘get the job done.’ Working from home has become much more widely accepted among the mainstream as well. Many companies offer this as a perk. Some companies require a certain amount of seniority before allowing employees to telecommute and other employers are completely remote operations with employees all over the world who never actually meet their clients or their bosses.
Many people wonder why companies would do this. What’s in it for them? Here are a few explanations in plain English. First, allowing employees the option of working from home is a great benefit to the employee. In some cities the average commute to work is one hour each way not to mention a frustrating experience. Most people need a few minutes to wind down and get settled in after a long commute. Imagine a thirty-second commute from kitchen to home office. In comparison the shorter commute sounds much more appealing, especially the part about not using any gas in order to get to the office. It adds dollars each day to employee pockets simply by eliminating the commute to and from an office each day. Even if an employee spends only $5 per day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks per year on gasoline, the savings in gas alone add up to $1,250 per year. It’s a fabulous perk for employers to offer.
The second reason companies are willing, even eager to allow workers to work from home is that they save copious amounts of money by passing the day to day expenses to the employee. The assumption is that the employee will assume responsibility for office equipment, internet connectivity, and all utilities associated with running a home office. The company doesn’t have to provide equipment for home workers, nor does the company have to provide for upkeep and maintenance of equipment.
The third reason employers are willing to do this and perhaps the most valuable to the employers is that there is a greater level of productivity among home workers. There are no issues of sick kids, car problems, or the many other things that arise to keep workers away from work. In fact there are studies that support the theory that home workers actually put more working hours into the day than those that work in a traditional office. A home worker is more likely to take a shorter lunch since they don’t have to leave the office to get lunch or wait in line at the cafeteria, etc. They are also more likely to use time that others would use commuting or dressing for the office, actually getting work done. There is no water cooler for gossip so time isn’t lost in that medium. Home workers in general aren’t as likely to quit without notice either since the demand for home jobs far outweighs the supply. This is good from employers because training a new employee quite often costs more than retaining an existing employee.
If you are a business owner considering the possibility of allowing your employees to telecommute I encourage you to consider this strongly. I think you will find the benefits to greatly outweigh the perceived ‘hassle.’ If you’re an employee wanting to work from home, approach your employer with facts and figures. Take the initiative of presenting a compelling case for working at home and see what happens. Chances are that more than one person in your office is hoping for an opportunity to work from home. If your job is a job that can be done remotely and you have a good track record with the company and a good reputation with your employer it couldn’t hurt to approach them with the idea. Be sure to do this in a professional non threatening manner though or it could very well back fire completely.