Since working from home is on the rise, every day more and more people are taking a closer look at the pros and cons.
According to the Global Workplace Analytics—an organization that reports on work strategies and statistics—there are several benefits to telecommuting , such as decreasing “employee absences” and increasing “employee empowerment.” This group looked at more than 4,000 studies, including interviews with telework enthusiasts and naysayers, researchers, venture capitalists who invest in the work from home model, Fortune 500 executives, virtual employers and dozens of home-based workers in a wide range of professions.
The results show that having a work-from-home job can actually increase employee productivity. Even though it may seem like there are more distractions at home, people do get more work done when they’re not in an office.
Less Time Commuting—More Time Working
If you work in an office, it’s probably painful to think about how many hours you spend commuting over the course of a year, especially when you consider what you could be doing instead of sitting in your car or being stuck on the train for hours on end. If you live in a densely populated area, every hour can seem like rush hour.
According to a 2015 study by Citi ThankYou Premier Commuter Index of 3,500 participants in the U.S., “workers spend 200 hours annually at a cost of nearly $2,600 on their daily commute.” Their average commute is 45 minutes. Most people drive rather than take public transportation, which indicates that gas could be a major cost for these workers. Interestingly, “traffic jams idle away almost three billion gallons of gas,” reports Global Workplace Analytics, so working from home lets people save time and money.
Furthermore, since work-from-home employees do not have to stress about their commute, they can begin their work days earlier, which allows them to focus more on their assigned tasks and projects. In fact, some people may find themselves working longer hours when they telecommute because they aren’t watching the clock. AT&T work-from-home employees, as noted by Global Workplace Analytics, actually put in five more hours than their office co-workers on average.
Several well-known businesses have compared employee productivity between telecommuters and in-office workers. As reported by Global Workplace Analytics, American Express’s work-from-home employees produce “43 percent more than their office counterparts.” Best Buy, British Telecom and Dow Chemical share similar statistics (35 to 40 percent more productive). Telecommuters benefit because they can get more work done during the day, but employers also reap rewards because their company’s profitability may rise significantly—lower overall employer overhead costs coupled with increased work-from-home productivity.
Of course, working from home isn’t for everyone, let alone for every job, but it definitely has advantages that both employees and employers should consider, especially in regards to productivity gains.