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5 Reasons You Should Embrace Telework Week and Let Employees Work from Home

Did you know that today kicks off Telework Week? Telework Week, which runs from February 14 - 18, is when companies and individuals are encouraged to pledge to work from home. This event comes to us from the Telework Exchange. And while there are some genuinely excellent reasons to endorse the organization and the week, I should point out right up front that it's all underwritten by telepresence company Cisco -- so this is sort of like Hallmark reminding you it's Valentine's Day. (By the way: It's Valentine's Day.)

The reality is that Telework Week is a great idea if it helps kick start a telecommuting program in your office. Here are a few reasons to embrace telwork according to WorkShifting: The Bottom Line, a white paper from Citrix [PDF link]:

  • About 40% of Americans have the ability to work remotely. The potential saving to the company if each of these worked from home on a half-time basis is $10,000 per employee per year.
  • Studies show that employees who work from home are more productive than their office counterparts. Reasons for this include isolation from office chatter, watercooler conversations, coffee breaks, birthday parties, and randomizing meetings. In fact, a pilot program by IBM showed that teleworking employees could be up to 50% more productive.
  • Telework can save large amounts of money on real estate. On average, office spaces costs $16,000 per year. A half-time telework staff can save 18%. In specific studies, Sun Microsystems saved $68 million per year on real state costs by allowing 15,000 of its 17,000 workforce to work from home 2 days per week.
  • Absenteeism drops significantly. In a nutshell, home-based workers continue to work when they're sick. It's also reported that teleworking employees experience less stress, so they get sick less frequently. They're also exposed to fewer sick co-workers, have less exposure to auto accidents, and get more exercise. In one specific example, the American Management Association reduced absences by 63% as a result of its telework program.
  • Telework is a powerful recruiting tool. 80% of Americans say they would like to work from home given the opportunity, and a third would take telecommuting over a pay raise. Consider VIP Desk's experience: Their turnover for home-based call center agents is less than 10%. Compare that to traditional call centers, where turnover is more than 100%.
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