Telecommuting: A Must in the 21st Century
Over the last two decades, the number of knowledge workers in the American workforce has grown at an astounding rate. This new generation of workers has brought creativity, insight, and change. Unlike traditional workers, they only need access to information and the space to be creative in order to thrive. As the number of knowledge workers has grown, so has the number companies utilizing telecommuting. Research shows that telecommuting increases employee morale and productivity by as much as 80%, while decreasing stress, absenteeism, and the negative effects commutes have on the environment.
In order to keep up with modern knowledge workers and remain competitive, companies are offering remote work more than ever before, and it seems they are on the right track. In 2015, more than 70% of American knowledge workers reported utilizing their company’s telecommuting capabilities and that number has only grown. While a few companies remain hesitant, afraid that employees will lack connection to the necessary resources, many are making attempts to compensate and they have come out on top. Modern technology allows organizations to utilize things like company laptops, VPNs, and cloud-based resources to ensure their employees have access while also giving them the space to spark creativity and stimulate new ideas.
Telecommuting provides employees a chance to change their environment and work more flexible hours, empowering creativity that may be stifled from their cubicle in the normal 9-5 workday. In addition, it allows employees to be more connected to work. Being able to work from the comfort of your home office allows employees to work when weather is poor, a child is sick, or they might otherwise use PTO. This flexibility is not only appreciated by the employee but empowers them to be more productive overall. Telecommuting decreases absenteeism by as much as 70% and enables employees to minimize their effects on the environment by eliminating their daily commute.
Modern knowledge workers understand that flexibility can equal success. Many knowledge workers dislike the office setting, feeling it inhibits their creativity; reporting that they would leave their current position if a more flexible position could be found. With such a heavy reliance on knowledge workers, modern companies have moved to accommodate this desire for flexibility and independence. Those that have successfully implemented telecommuting see a significant increase in their ability to recruit and retain the best workers. In fact, recent studies show that telecommuting can decrease turnover in knowledge workers by as much as 50%.
The benefits of telecommuting are undeniable — less stress and lower absenteeism lead to improved morale and increased productivity. No matter the industry, providing knowledge workers with the opportunity to telecommute, even part time, can lead your organization to success provided communication remains consistent. Utilize modern technology to provide regular feedback. Hold daily or weekly conversations where you can check-in, encourage workers, and provide constructive criticism. The key to successful telecommuting is communication, and when successful, telecommuting can change the face of an organization.