Photo Credit DDFic
In case you missed it there was an extremely comprehensive post on the Oil Drum site the other day about teleworking.
The post struck a particular chord with me as I have been working out of home now since 2004!
The post goes through the pros and cons of teleworking and lists 28 advantages of teleworking. Personally, I love working out of home and at this point I’d find it very hard to going back to working from a central office. Working from home means I can be far more productive. I can (and often do) stay working on long after the typical 9-5 workday.
Apart from the obvious environmental benefits of teleworking, the Oil Drum article mentions many of the advantages of telecommuting for companies including:
• Improves employee satisfaction
• Reduce attrition
• Reduces unscheduled absences
• Increases productivity
• Saves employers money
• Equalizes personalities and reduces potential for discrimination
• Cuts down on wasted meetings
• Increases employee empowerment
• Increases collaboration
• Provides new employment opportunities for the un and under-employed
• Expands the talent pool
• Slows the brain drain due to retiring Boomers
• Reduces staffing redundancies and offers quick scale-up and scale-down options
• Prevents traffic accidents
• Take the pressure off our crumbling transportation infrastructure
• Insures continuity of operations in the event of a disaster
• Improves performance measurement systems
• Offers access to grants and financial incentives
Many large companies are embracing teleworking nowadays for many of the reasons listed above.
The telework coalition has an interesting facts page on teleworking which lists details such as:
- British Telecom, which has 80,000 employees, found productivity rose 31 per cent among its 9,000 teleworkers, due to lack of disruptions, stress and commuting time
- AT&T found two-thirds of workers offered jobs by competitors remained with the company, citing telework as a major factor in their decision.
- The bottom line, according to Dow Chemical: Administrative costs have dropped 50% annually (15% of which was attributed to commercial real estate costs.) Productivity increased by 32.5% (10% through decreased absenteeism, 16% by working at home and 6.5% by avoiding the commute.)
- IBM reduced real estate costs in the US by from 40-60% according to Telecommuting Review and
- Nortel report that less than 1% of telecommuters want to stop once they have started to telecommute.
April Dunford, Nortel’s Director of Business Development, was interviewed recently about her experiences as a teleworker:
Do you telework? Does your company have a teleworking program in place?
April Dunford says
Thanks for the link Tom. We put that one together as part of a social media release we did a few weeks back around teleworking (http://tinyurl.com/5gb6wk ). The response we got to that release was really quite amazing both in terms of press coverage as well as the dialogue it started inside Nortel. Inside Nortel I am continuously stopped in the elevator, in the hall, in the bathroom (Hey, you with the black shoes, are you the teleworking lady? I’m not kidding), by employees that tell me that it was a key reason they chose to work at Nortel and how it’s improved their life not having to come to work everyday.
I’m like you – I’ve been teleworking (part-time in my case) for years and I couldn’t imagine going back to an office full time. Companies need to get their heads around the advantages of having a formal telework program.
I think some of the disadvantages of teleworking include:
* A state of perpetual work – after working from home for about 12 months, I found myself always in front of the computer. There was some sort of weird guilt thing, or sense of feeling like I was going to screw up because the leash was too long, so I went overboard in the other direction. Not sure I describe the psychosis properly, but I’ve heard others describe similar.
* Very easy access to food and beer – some might put this on the “cons” list. But seriously – being at home and just casually deciding to grill a burger and drink a cold one for lunch. Multiply that over many months, and the gut just can’t support that kind of intake over a long period of time. After a while my kankles started hurting when I hobbled outside to fire up the grill.
* Too much of the same – after a while, I started to lose my mind in my home office. Every day exactly the same. Shuffle out of bed, coffee, then computer for 10 hours. Too many days where I wouldn’t even set foot outside.
* MLB extra innings is very dangerous – if you are a baseball fan and telecommuting, I cannot stress enough that you need to resist pulling the trigger on that MLB.com extra innings package. When you start knowing the play by play calls from announcers of teams you don’t even like (White Sox home run: “You can put it on the boooaaard … Yesss!” or White Sox strikeout: “Heeeegone”) you are clinging to your sanity by a mere thread, my friend.
With my wife now 8.5 months into pregnancy, I finally got an office down the street. It’s about three quarters of a mile from our house. I’ve gotten back down to fighting shape. My attitude is a lot better. I’m enjoying the work / home separation and a lot more focused when I am working. Being able to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it somehow takes a lot of the fun out of those whatevers you wanted to do. Huh?