Telecommuting has become a popular choice for business owners who are looking to increase efficiency, morale, and cut back on costs. According to a report from the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, telecommuting has the additional benefit of reducing wear and tear on the environment.
In the April 2008 report entitled “Information Technologies and Telecommuting: Good for the Economy, Good for the Environment“, the center noted that the use of personal vehicles accounts for half of greenhouse gas emissions, and that the roads those vehicles travel on are composed of petroleum-based substances. Fuel is also utilized in the maintenance and upkeep of those roads.
Businesses Profit in Numerous Ways
The combination of these factors not only has an impact on the global environmental crisis, but on ecological habitats surrounding roads. Reducing travel on the local scale can have a far-reaching impact globally.
Economically, the report stated that having a staff that works from home could decrease office expenditures such as gas, heat, and energy. Should the business be 100 percent work from home, businesses can also save greatly on rental costs.
The Telework Coalition, the only non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting and advancing telework and telecommuting, makes similar assertions in terms of the benefits of telecommuting, including some added benefits:
- The reduction of vehicle pollution and traffic
- The reduction of dependency on foreign oil
- The reduction of real estate costs by 20 to 50 percent through better utilization of office space
- Improvement in work/life balance, employee production, and motivation
- Employment opportunities for hard-to-reach workers (disabled, elderly, rural, etc.)
Employees Benefit Too
The American Consumer cited studies that found telecommuting saves not only for employers, but also for employees. There are psychological and financial benefits for employees who can avoid sitting in hours of rush hour traffic, subsequently avoiding stress and the need to expend extra cash for fuel and associated vehicle costs.
Telecommuting: Not So Popular But There Are Compelling Reasons to Pursue It
An August 2008 Gallup Poll found that just 12% of U.S. workers said their companies had encouraged employees to work from home one or more days per week. Of those workers, 16% said they were encouraged to work a four-day workweek.
The poll also found that the number of workers telecommuting had decreased by 2% since 2006. Gallup postured that more businesses might begin to consider telecommuting due to rising travel costs and advancements in technological equipment.
On the technology front, there are so many accessible ways for businesses to successfully set up virtual offices. There are various software systems to perform trainings and set up web meetings. Epifany specializes in delivering fully managed, customer-centric solutions for small business in the areas of voice, wireless, security, IP next generation networks as well as desktop and server management. Whether it’s boosting productivity, streamlining operations, or minimizing overhead expenses. Epifany is a good resource for Green IT strategies.
For a business that can translate office work to working from home, allowing employees to telecommute all or some of their workdays can not only keep costs in check and increase employee satisfaction, but also have a profound impact on helping to preserve the environment.
By Katie O’Connell
Katie O’Connell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.