Telecommuting could save billions of dollars a year
With the coastal Northeast of the United States hit by ferocious storms that have dumped snow everywhere over the past few days, schools, businesses and government offices have closed, flights have been grounded and billions of dollars have been lost. Millions of people are taking snow days, but some of them are still expected to get their jobs done.
For regular telecommuters it’s business as usual as long as their internet connections are still working. Many companies and government offices in New York, D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia and other affected states have managed to keep vital services running by implementing emergency plans that allow certain other employees to work remotely too.
Telecommuting makes perfect financial sense
Although only 4 percent of people employed in the U.S. currently telework, around 40 percent have jobs that could be done at least partly from home. If all these workers were to telecommute 50 percent of the time, the total economic impact would be around $750 billion each year, according to the Telework Research Network. The group’s latest findings include the following:
The country would reduce its annual oil use by 453 million barrels, which could cut imports from the Gulf by 57 percent and save $31 billion a year (at $70/barrel).
- The nation’s productivity would improve by 6.2 million man-years, or the equivalent of $200 billion of labor every year.
- Businesses would reduce their spending on utilities, real estate, absenteeism and staff turnover by a total of $194 billion a year.
- Individuals would cut their costs for transportation and other work-related items (excluding daycare and eldercare) by $2500 to $11000 a year.
- More then $3 billion would be saved on highway maintenance, since people would be driving 180 billion fewer miles every year.
- Deaths and injuries from traffic accidents would drop by 150000 a year. This would shrink annual accident-related costs by $18 billion.
Teleworking is good for the environment, too
With fewer commuters on the roads and fewer offices requiring light, heat or air conditioning, the planet would benefit as well from having a greater number of remote workers. If more people worked from home, the decreased use of energy could help slow the pace of global warming and pollution.
- Annual greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 84 million tons, which is more than 40 percent of President Obama’s emissions-reduction target for 2020.
- Increased teleworking would sufficiently decrease the use of electrical power in offices to power 1.5 million homes every year.
Remote workers are less stressed
Imagine having two or three days a week when you don’t need to struggle through the traffic to get to and from work. As long as you have a reliable internet connection and a phone line you can do your job from home, wearing whatever you like and with your own coffee mug next to you. Since you don’t have a commute on those days, you can spend more time with your family and maintain a happier work-life balance. Think of all the money you’ll save on gasoline and other transportation costs too!
By saving money for your company you might even succeed in keeping your job more secure as well. Ask your employer if you can do some of your work from home, and you too can experience the personal and financial benefits of telecommuting.