One In Five Americans Work From Home, Numbers Seen Rising Over 60%
Yes, you can. Telecommuting on the rise as companies cite production benefits.
A growing number of Americans are working from home. Whether they are self-employed entrepreneurs running small accounting services, or telecommuting for multinational consulting firms, some 30 million of us work from a home office at least once a week. And that number is expected to increase by 63% in the next five years, according to a study by the Telework Research Network.
An estimated three million American professionals never step a foot in an office outside of their own home and another 54% say they are happier that way.
INFOGRAPHIC: The Home Office: Facts & Figures – BOLT Insurance
New technologies like telepresence are making telecommuting more feasible, let alone allowing for expanding offices around the world.
We’ve all seen the commercial where a team of scientists and tech solution providers devise a way to bring water to parched areas of Kenya. They are all chatting about their ideas over a program like Skype. Some of them are working from their home office.
In fact, half-time home-based work accounts for savings of more than $10,000 per employee per year, according to Telework—the result of increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism, and reduced turnover. Employees save somewhere between $1,600 to $6,800 and 15 days of time once used driving to work or taking public transportation.
A total of 47% of people who have the option to telework are “very satisfied” with their jobs, compared to 27% of those who are office-bound, according to Telework. Over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their teleworkers. Contributing factors include fewer interruptions from colleagues, more effective time management, feelings of empowerment, flexible hours and, of course, even longer hours. The home office never closes.
Telework Research Network said that Best Buy’s average productivity had increased 35% through its flexible work program. British Telecom estimates productivity increased 20% through telecommuting. Around 90% of home-based workers say they are happier with the work/life balance even though they tend to work harder and longer.
Alpine Access, one of the nation’s largest all-virtual employers, attributes a 30% increase in sales and 90% reduction in customer complaints to its home-based agents. American Express teleworkers handled 26% more calls and produced 43% more business than their office-based counterparts, Telework said.
Home-based workers often continue to work when they’re sick. They’re able to return to work more quickly following pregnancy or surgery. And they’re able to handle personal appointments (cable installer, appliance delivery, teacher consult, etc.) without losing a full day of work.
The top reasons employees want to work from home (including both federal employees and the private sector) are:
Avoid commute (63–71%),
Greater flexibility (49–66%),
More productive productivity
Save money (28–31%).
In cities such as Chicago, Houston, and Seattle, during peak commute times travelers have to allow twice as long as they normally would if they want to be sure to arrive on time.
For commuters stuck in traffic every day, time spent in a car cuts productivity in half. Nationwide, 4.2 billion hours are spent driving in traffic every year, which Telework Research said robs $78 billion worth of productivity from the U.S. economy. Al Gore will like this one: traffic jams idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas, and release more than 58 million extra pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, the company said on its website.