To Telecommute Or Not To Telecommute Amidst The Outbreak

What is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting (also known as remote working or work from home) is not new. The concept was around even before the Covid-19 outbreak. Telecommuting has increased by 159% over the last twelve years; it caught attention in the earlier parts of 2020 during the global lockdown.A telecommuter works from home or from a flexible office space outside of an employer’s physical office space. Remote workers get their work done using technological gadgets—a mobile phone and a stable internet connection—to stay connected with the employer, office workers, and customers.

The Omicron outbreak has changed the way we work and live our lives. Remote working has several advantages not just for the employees but also for the employers. While working from home would add days to employees’ lives, it would greatly benefit employers. Some of the advantages of telecommuting are as follows:

Higher Profits and Savings

Possibly the most significant advantage of telecommuting goes to the employers. Sorry, employees! Real estate is expensive. Office space purchases, leases, and renovations have cost major firms millions of dollars. If their workforce does not return, C-suite executives would have to foot the bill for their office buildings. It would be difficult for firms to sell or sublease their office portfolios while the rest of the industry shifts toward remote work.

Global Workplace Analytics reported that an average company could save up to $11,000 per year per employee who telecommutes from home some of the time. FlexJobs reported an annual saving of $3 million by transferring half of the employees to work from home. An average remote worker can save anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 in gasoline, car maintenance, auto insurance, healthcare, parking fees, professional wardrobe, and fast food. These savings add up.

Location Independence

Another advantage of telecommuting is that it allows you to use a wider variety of career options that aren’t constrained by your physical location. In rural areas where employment opportunities are scarce, working from home might benefit. Additionally, military spouses benefit from having remote work done anywhere without starting at the bottom of a new firm every time they relocate.

Working from home is also an excellent option to avoid residing in a location with a high cost of living, such as an expensive metropolis like New York or San Francisco. Thanks to remote work, you don’t have to reside in a big city to have a profession that you like. You could be living on a remote farm.

Work-Life Balance

Many American workers do not understand the importance of having a work-life balance when compared against their European counterparts, especially French. While American employees assume their work as their identity, Europeans do not.

Americans rush through things and fail to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Thanks to Omicron, telecommuting has provided many employees with opportunities to start and complete their days as they see fit as long as they achieve the daily goals.

Achieving work-life balance is another advantage of telecommuting. We no longer need a babysitter; we do not have to dread a COP citing us for a traffic violation; escalating gas prices would not matter, and, above all, we would be spending more time with our family.

Less Stress More Productivity

In the United States, the average commute is approximately 30-minutes. It is about 60 minutes in cosmopolitan cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, and Chicago; this is about 120 minutes round trip. According to AAA (American Automobile Association), most Americans spend an average of 100 hours in a 40-hour workweek. Accidents, roadblocks, construction, and other incidents can add 30 to 45 minutes. Imagine the deteriorating health.

Telecommuting would allow the employees to save 100+ hours per week and add it to their lives. I love to sleep, and 100+ hours mean adding four days of sleeping time. If adding days to our time is not an advantage of telecommuting, I do not know what it would be. The saved time can allow employees to focus more on their work and achieving goals. Also, eliminating the commute benefits an employee’s emotional and physical wellness. In addition, the time saved could be utilized to prioritize activities outside of work.

See Also: How To Harness Employee Mental Health Amidst The Omicron Outbreak

Diversity and Inclusivity

It is not easy to achieve diversity and inclusion if recruitment is location-dependent. One of the advantages of telecommuting is that companies prefer to hire workers who can work from home where they feel most at ease and supported.

People with disabilities or carers who need a flexible work schedule, who may have difficulty obtaining consistent employment at an onsite workplace, may pursue their professional objectives without worrying about driving back and forth to an office. Employees may also use this service to travel to doctor’s visits and other medical appointments as required.

Increased Productivity and Performance

Most people who work from home are productive because of the reduced interruptions, fewer office politics, and quieter noise levels. When working from home, the employees can save commuting time, and therefore, they have more time to achieve professional and individual goals. They are less likely to be distracted, which leads to higher production.

When done correctly, remote work empowers people and businesses to concentrate on performance. Unfortunately, the office environment can create “false positives” that can lead to bias, nepotism, or favoritism. Arriving early and departing late may seem more productive than they are.

The Future of Working from Home

The number of remote workers was much lower before the Covid-19 pandemic. Approximately 18 million workers telecommuted when the pandemic affected the United States in 2020. While many businesses—schools, farms, public transport, and law enforcement—and the respective employees reported a decline in financial stability, many industries thrived as new technology was introduced. The IT sector and companies heavily relying on the telecom industry pocketed huge profits.

In Economist Report: Future Workforce, Dr. Ozimek, an economist, states that:

by the Year 2025, the number of remotely working Americans would double from 18 million to 36.2 million.

This would allow companies to save operational costs regarding advertisements and training employees. The psycho-physiological advantages of telecommuting include but are not limited to reduced stress, lower blood pressure, hypertension, controlled anger, and diabetes. Also, telecommuting would allow employees to pursue hobbies and interests and strengthen interpersonal connections, among other benefits.

Relationships between coworkers and managers may improve personal health and well-being with fewer distractions and politics. According to a survey, 72% of businesses believe that working from home influences employee retention significantly.

There are several health benefits of working from home, including:

– More gym time

– Eating healthier instead of consuming junk food

– Increased psychological well-being

– Lesser physiological issues

– Customized workspace

– Juggling professional and personal chores simultaneously

– Increased happiness

– Better quality of life

While few businesses would ever achieve 100% remote work for their workers, this does not have to be the objective. Employers profit just as much as workers from flexible work arrangements. The benefits are obvious, ranging from cost savings to staff well-being. It is likely time for you to implement a favorable work-from-home policy for your employees.