It seems telecommuting is finally hitting critical mass. According to a recent survey put out by Gartner Research, one in four Americans worked from home at least one day a week during 2007.
I'll spare you the usual reasons why this is a good thing, like accomodating families, which are well understood by employees and not much of an enticement for employers.
Here are some other reasons employers should be more aggressive about sending more staffers home to do their work.
1. According to a recent article in The Economist, Companies save, on average, about $10,000 a year in savings per full-time telecommuter from less office space, work equipment and furniture, etc. Do that and you can quit griping about all the money you're shelling out for health insurance premiums. Everyone wins! Employees save you money and work from home, so they can actually find time to go to the doctor and use that health insurance you're paying for.
2. Telecommuting allows businesses to widen the recruiting net. You can hire someone from literally anywhere in the world. If your business is located in an area with a high cost of living, that can put pressure on offering higher salaries. Why pay San Francisco prices for a bookeeper, instead of Indiana prices?
3. Less turnover. Most people who work from home know they have a sweet deal and it's still a rarity. People who work from home tend to feel that is their highest priority in what they need out of a job and less is their concern about higher salaries and faster promotions.
4. Less office gossip and intrigue. Human nature is what it is. Let's be honest; it gets ugly sometimes. There's nothing more demoralizing to an entire staff than bad blood among a few colleagues and living with the drama of it as it unfolds day to day. If you have someone in your workplace that tends to stir the pot; this may be the perfect person to send home with a laptop and VPN password.
5. It's your patriotic duty and responsibility as a good corporate citizen of the world. No, I'm not kidding and you shouldn't be either. Anything to get more drivers off the road, especially during rush hour, helps. Do your part. More companies need to look at staffing their offices with only essential on site staff and send everyone else home. Period.
P.S. A special thanks to INC for allowing me to blog this from home, as I always do. I'm in my pajamas as I write this. Now that's business casual!