Telecommuting: The Smartest Strategy for Businesses

There was a time, not too long ago, where a request to work from home was a sign you must be sick. With an increase in two working parent households and the advent of new technology, working from home has increasingly become a new norm for employees, with employers either tacitly accepting this new “benefit” or integrating it into their management plan proactively.

While many employers allowed or even promoted flexible work environments, the question remained: How does working from home periodically or the majority of the time impact productivity and performance?

At Cetrom, we’ve been early adopters and champions of remote work environments. Many of our employees work from home. And our data illustrates that a work-from-home strategy increases employee satisfaction and productivity over the long term. Now, researchers from a wide range of disciplines are confirming what Cetrom has known for some time–companies that encourage working from home have happier, more productive teams.

Unlike more complex management strategies, transitioning to a telecommuting approach has fewer moving parts. Plus, it achieves two essential goals quickly and with less strain on time and resources: increasing production while reducing costs. We’ve experienced this firsthand at Cetrom, as well as these other clear benefits of adapting to modern worker needs by adopting a working from home work environment:

Increased Productivity

A study by Stanford University recently revealed a 13% increase in productivity for telecommuters when compared to their in-office compatriots. In another study by Gallup, workers that telecommuted three to four days a week felt 33% more engaged than their work-in-office counterparts.

Nicholas Bloom, author of a well-known research project on telecommuting, had this to say about a test case rendered at Ctrip, a travel website, where workers were able to opt into working from home for 9 months: “The results we saw at Ctrip blew me away. Ctrip was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did—meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.”

What’s more, telecommuting protects business continuity and workflow by enabling staff to work should the office become unavailable. Snowstorms and other minor, weather-related issues that prevent the office from opening cease, in many instances, to disrupt operations and client services. Telecommuting is a great tool for not only keeping your staff safe, but it also reduces downtime and workflow disruptions.

Stronger Recruiting and Retention

Deploying an intentional, thoughtful work-at-home management strategy also improves hiring and employee retention. Hiring and turnover, which are inextricably linked business factors, are very costly endeavors, making hiring the right people and keeping them a critical component of business success.

Integrating telecommuting into your recruiting pitch, especially for businesses in the tech field, can be a boon to beating out the competition for top talent. Put simply, offering a flexible work schedule gives you a competitive advantage over companies that don’t; the more flexible your strategy, the more beneficial and attractive it will be to talent. What’s more, telecommuting environments also reduce turnover and attrition. According to statistics compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, “…two-thirds of people want to work from home, and 36 percent would choose that option over a pay raise. Furthermore, 80 percent of employees consider telework to be a job perk, 95 percent of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention, and 46 percent of companies that allow telework say it has reduced attrition.”

In addition, offering a strong telecommuting program removes geography from the equation. Commutes are no longer a factor; you can hire the best talent from anywhere in the world, as both your business and potential talent are untethered to geographic considerations.

At Cetrom, we’ve seen this in action. In an IT field where battles over top talent are intense, and retention is critical to maintaining trust, we’ve been able to hire and keep top talent. We feel our telecommuting strategy has been a major factor in this success.

Reduced Operating Expenses

Fostering a robust and productive telecommuting environment has a major impact on operating expenses. Savings generated by remote employees, including less needed office space, fewer pieces of furniture, reduced energy usages, fewer office supplies and fewer costs associated with other office perks like coffee and snacks. Looking at any one of these line items savings would not impress, but when taken in aggregate the operations savings can be substantial and become a strong source of reinvestment in other aspects of the business.

IBM saved $100 million after adopting a wider telecommuting strategy.

Reduced Salaries

While you’ll still have to pay top dollar for top talent, some studies show that employees will work for less. A recent study by the American Economic Association found that some employees would give up 8% of their salary for the option to work from home. The data clearly shows that telecommuting increases employee satisfaction and productivity; add to this potentially lower compensation, and it’s a win-win from employee and employer.

Finally, while happiness is difficult to measure, research study after research study shows that telecommuting increases staff happiness, health, loyalty, and productivity, resulting in less stressed, more motivated, and engaged teams.

We’ve known this at Cetrom for some time. Our telecommuting strategy works. We’re proud to say we keep our staff members happy and productive; that’s why our people stay with us and it’s why we’ve been able to build such trust among our clients and within the IT industry.

Cetrom can be your cloud partner. We’ve successfully executed scores of complex migrations for organizations just like yours. We’d love to hear more about your business and its IT needs. Reach out to us today to learn more about how our trusted team can help you improve your IT performance.