Your Business Should Embrace the New Reality of Telecommuting
The concept of telecommuting goes back decades, but continual technological developments have made telecommuting not only easier but cheaper and more accessible to the everyday worker. Chief among these innovations is the internet’s ever-expanding web of influence, as well as the rapid adoption of portable computer devices – such as smartphones – that can do what desktops and laptops used to do and more.
Today, it is possible to participate in a video conference call while standing in line for a roller coaster, or respond to an email from a certain porcelain throne (something that, no joke, almost half of Americans regularly do). With this ease, it’s no shock that telecommuting either full-time or part-time has become so common.
The simple fact of the matter is that telecommuting isn’t going away, and it benefits both employers and employees. Businesses owe it to themselves and their employees to at least dip their toes into the waters of telecommuting. Come on in – the water’s warm!
It’s Not Going Away
According to a joint study by telecommuting website FlexJobs and analytics firm Global Workplace Analytics, the number of telecommuters doubled in the decade between 2005 and 2015. This outpaced overall job growth tenfold during that period. As of 2018, 4.3 percent of all American workers telecommuted at least half the time, and seven percent of all workplaces offer some telecommuting option.
Another factor in the increase of telecommuting is the increasing existence of freelancers. An Upwork study about freelancing in America found that 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018, with 64 percent of them finding freelance work online.
Telecommuting won’t impact every job. It would be impossible to fold clothing at a department store from two states away or to clean popcorn from the floors of a movie theater across town. And it’s unlikely that everyone will telecommute eventually. We’re social creatures by nature, and there are clear benefits to working together with other humans.
However, the telecommuting momentum isn’t stopping, and this is a trajectory that can’t simply be reversed. For many workplaces, the option to work from home is still a perk. But businesses that smartly offer telecommuting options to their employees can take advantage of its benefits and get a leg up on their competitors.
One of the primary reasons why telecommuting has gained so much popularity – other than the fact that you can get paid for doing actual work in your pajamas – is that it is beneficial to both parties involved. Again: not every position is a good fit for telecommuting, and indeed, not every person works well from home. But, from a macro level, telecommuting is effective and makes employees happier.
Benefits to Employees
Flexibility is more important to employees than you might think. According a giant survey of 14,000 people in 19 countries by ManpowerGroup Solutions, 40 percent considered schedule flexibility among the three most important factors in a job decision. This makes sense: sometimes you need to squeeze in a doctor’s appointment, or you just have to be home to let the flooring guys in to install your shiny new hardwood.
This is because the benefits for part- or full-time telecommuters are varied and strong. To start, those who work from home avoid a real life commute. This can easily save an employee an hour a day that they can use for their own purposes. But the mere act of telecommuting can benefit employees in other ways. Per a 2011 survey by Staples Advantage, 86 percent of telecommuters reported being both happier and healthier, and 80 percent reported having a better work/life balance than their commuting coworkers.
Benefits to Employers
Employers themselves also enjoy the benefits of providing telecommuting options to their employees – that is, if they have the courage and trust to do so in the first place.
One clear benefit is that opening the door for telecommuting opens the talent door for the entire global marketplace. Removing geographic barriers allows employers to tap into hotbeds of specific talent that would not otherwise be available. Beyond those specific situations, it allows organizations to hire the best talent available and retain that talent if they relocate.
The other part of this equation is that employees who work from home are more productive than their office-going counterparts. Again, this isn’t true for everyone, but what data there is bears this out. By allowing employees to work from home, employers are giving employees what they want at the same time as they reap the benefits of those happier, healthier, focused employees.
Go Local and “Working From Home”
Telecommuting isn’t just an idea for us at Go Local. It’s a reality. We’ve recently implemented a concrete HR policy that assures the ability of our employees to work from home several times per month. We know that life happens, and that happy employees in great environments do great work.
We’ve leveraged telecommuting to hire new employees in key positions in an attempt to find the best of the best. And we’ve also allowed great employees to stay on staff even after their family has relocated elsewhere. A good company is a company that uses all the tools at its disposal, and at Go Local, we think our approach speaks for itself.
Want to work with us? We’d be delighted. Contact us when you’re ready to take your digital marketing career to the next level.