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Working from home: Do you have what it takes, or not?

Working from home is an increasingly popular move for companies and can save brands and freelancers money alike, but not everyone is cut out for it.

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Working from home is increasingly common

With 34 million people in the United States working from home, it is clear that communication technologies have opened up new options for telecommuting. Most telecommuters work from their own homes, connecting via the internet to the company’s network. It is estimated that by 2016, the number of workers telecommuting will nearly double. It is easy to see why: telecommuting benefits both the company and the employee.

NeedaOffice, an office supply company, offers a handy for describing some of the pros and cons of work-from-home programs. According to their surveys, 66 percent of workers would telecommute, given the choice, and another 36 percent would choose a work-from-home option over a pay raise. Telecommuting obviously reduces or eliminates time spent sitting in traffic on the way to work. It also allows employees to be more involved in caring for their children and elderly loved ones, and it is easier to schedule appointments without taking a full day off of work.

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Many telecommuters also report that working from home allows them to be more independent and creative, and that they are more satisfied with their jobs. In fact, 95 percent of surveyed employers say that telecommuiting “has had a high impact on employee retention” – indicating that their telecommuting employees are highly satisfied with their work arrangement and tend to stick with it.

Working from home can be good for businesses, too

Telecommuting is great for businesses as well. It saves money and increases productivity. Allowing employees to work from home decreases the frequency of unscheduled no-shows, which cost US businesses about $300 billion per year. When in-office employees call in sick, an estimated 78 percent of them are in fact, not sick, but simply need some time to attend to needs at home or unwind from all of the stress. The scheduling flexibility of telecommuting allows employees the opportunity to deal with their home and personal lives without missing as much work. Just sparing employees the commute alone increases productivity, as about 60 percent of the time saved on commuting is used to complete more work.

Many major companies, especially tech companies like IBM, Dell, Apple, Amazon, and Adobe, have a work-from-home option, and report positive results. AT&T says that their telecommuters, on average, work for five more hours than their office workers. American Express reports that teleworkers generate 43 percent more work than their in-office counterparts. Even the federal government has employees working from home, and apparently saved $30 million when a blizzard kept workers trapped at home last winter.

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So, is working from home a viable option for you, or for your small businesses? The benefits are clear, but be sure to hire teleworkers who are tech savvy, self-motivated, and good at managing their time.

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Chris Shouse

    July 11, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Continental Airlines..(oops slip of the tongue) has all but eliminated reservation centers by having people answer calls from home. I know my former colleagues from Utah prefer this situation. However what is missing is the social environment and actual interaction with people outside your home.

    • Lani Rosales

      July 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

      I think this is why Starbucks is doing so well all day (remote workers), and coworking spaces are finally thriving, don't you?

  2. Laurie Hurley

    July 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I have worked from home for 17 years and love it. I am productive, have become very disciplined, and have had the opportunity to never miss a soccer match or doctor's appointment with my two daughters. Now that they are 17 and 20, even if I was offered an office job, I would not take it. I balance the lack of social interaction on a daily basis by making sure I go to local networking functions. Thanks for sharing this. Good stuff.

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