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March 24, 2009

Telework Programs Deliver Significant Financial Benefits for Consumers/Companies

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


The concept of working from home has long been a dream for some and a growing reality for others. The advancements in technology have made it possible for more and more professionals to work from home, saving on gas, clothes and lunches in the process. At the same time, companies can also benefit financially from such arrangements, the key is in knowing how to implement and manage the telework platform.
 
According to a new Telework Savings Calculator, U.S. companies alone could add more than $390 billion a year to their bottom line by implementing a telework program. Consumers could collectively save $345 billion – or from $2,500 to $11,000 a year per person, by eliminating the daily commute.
 
On a broader scale, the U.S. could reduce its dependence on Gulf Oil imports by almost 57 percent, saving the nation another $21 billion. A telework platform could also benefit the environment, sparing it 84 million tons of greenhouse gases every year. This number equates to taking 15 million cars off the road.
 
This savings calculator uses recently-released U.S. Census American Community Survey figures and data from more than a dozen authoritative studies. In doing so, the calculator quantifies what every city, county, region, Congressional District and State in the nation could save through telecommuting/work-from-home initiatives.
 
The calculator is now available free for public, corporate and government use at http://undress4success.com/research/calculator. A customize option allows users to model their own company or community.

Despite these advantages, there are currently less than six million Americans that consider home their regular workspace. More than half of this six million are self-employed. According to research from Undress4Success.com, another 33 million people hold jobs that are telework-compatible and eager to work from home.

Estimates show that if this 33 million worked from home just half of the time, businesses could improve their bottom line by over $7,900 per new telecommuter per year. The result of such a move would be lower real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover costs together with increased employee productivity.

The following companies have implemented a telework platform and are reaping the benefits:
 
  • Sun Microsystems (News - Alert) saves $70 million a year in real estate alone
  • McKesson saves $2 million a year in real estate and other expenses
  • Dow Chemical saved one third of its non-real estate costs through telework
  • Best Buy, BT, JD Edwards and American Express (News - Alert) have found home-based employees to be 30-40 percent more productive than their office counterparts.

While not all companies are suited for telework, many are that have not yet taken advantage of the platform due to lack of knowledge, training or confidence in such a system. Several different studies completed by independent firms have shown that the benefits to teleworking are real and substantial, making it worth investigation.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi



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