Obviously ‘teleworking’ covers people like traveling sales operatives who’ve always worked that way, but an increasing number of tech and IT staff are spending their working lives outside the office too, with clerical and support staff not far behind. It’s a win-win situation that both companies and workers like.
You’d expect companies to hate telework and employees to love it. For employees, it means a couple of hours, at least, rescued from the daily commute, and a chance to work in their pyjamas or with the stereo up loud - not options at most people’s offices.
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But don’t companies hate the idea of losing control over their employees? How can you check on a worker if they’re not even there? And doesn’t remote working lead to slackness?
Not everyone sees it that way. According to a report issued late last year, the US government now thinks about 47% of its employees - over a million people - are eligible for telecommuting. So what’s so great about it, and how is everyone a winner?
Telecommuting eliminates wasted time
Sure, some people work on the way to work. Most people sit in traffic, for an average of an hour each way. That’s wasted time for everyone, and telecommuting gives it back.
Telecommuting cuts costs for companies - but not wages for workers
Workers who work at home don’t need offices, cutting down on overheads - rent, heating, insurance and all the other costs associated with property. But they still make the same salary.
Remote workers are less stressed and more productive
Remote workers and in-office workers agree that teleworkers are less stressed, sleep more, drive less - and get more done. Less stress, more productivity? Win-win.
Absenteeism is a good thing
Americans work longer hours than any other industrialized country, but we don’t get more done. There’s a culture of ‘presenteeism’ - if you’re in the office early and late, you’re a good employee. ‘Part-timer’ is used as a slur. Get rid of that and ‘absent’ workers can be judged on their quality and productivity, not on how much time they spent on the job. That’s better for everyone.
Absent doesn’t mean out of reach
Much of the time in modern offices, people communicate by email, cloud or messaging services anyway. If you’re going to email someone, and get an email back, what difference does it make where they are? If you’re driving into work to open and reply to emails, doesn’t that defeat the point?
Teleworking means businesses spend less money and workers do more work, while workers have a better quality of life and more control over their working time.