Telecommuting and its advantages

Imagine this, you wake up in the morning take shower, if you’re lucky you might grab a quick a breakfast and head to work.  According to USA Today, about 8% of workers in the USA have commutes of an hour or longer, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers endure “megacommutes” of at least an hour-and-a-half and 50 miles, according to new U.S. Census data on commuting.  So, we generally waste two hours in just commute during the day.  So, now you are finally at work and adjust to start your day. What if I tell you that working from home was a better solution to have better performance, and reduction to cost.

James Liang, cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip conducted an experiment. They gave the staff at his company’s call center a chance to work from home for nine months. Half of the workers were allowed to telecommute while the other half remained in the office as a control group. Performance data was collected as well as survey. When results were compiled it showed in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit and more productive.

The study showed   the increase in productivity, employees working more hours. They started on time, unhampered by a delayed commute; they took fewer breaks (less talk about last night affairs) and had fewer days off sick. The other productivity increase was because they took more calls per minute. Their quiet working environment allowed them to concentrate more.

What’s more impressive is that, employees who worked from home reported higher job satisfaction and were 50% less likely to leave than their colleagues who stayed in the office.  But interestingly, after the 9-month trial, half of those who’d worked from home chose to go back to the office. Clearly, the peace and quiet of working from home feels like isolation for some. Or it could be more of a cultural aspect as the east is more community oriented and they probably felt isolated the main thing here is choice. Once employees could choose where to work, the performance impact of working from home more than doubled.

I can definitely see this trend grow in the near future as more and more companies are tech geared  access and opportunity to work from home will be more readily available. I see more advantage such more flexibility, less distractions, proximity to home and family and more importantly a better balance of work/life and health. What would you do, If you had the option to work from home? Would you take it? Do you think you can be more productive and perform better? Or do you prefer to work from office and see your coworkers?








3 thoughts on “Telecommuting and its advantages

  1. As this idea seems beneficial, I do not believe that it would work in the long run. The work environment is what keeps people focused. I cannot imagine working at the same place I sleep. The phrase, “don’t take your work home” applies to this post. Eventually, your work life will interrupt your social life. I would not take the opportunity to work at home for this reason. Additionally, communication with your coworkers over telecommunication is not as efficient as communicating face to face. I think individually people may be more productive, but not for the business as a whole. Although commuting can take much time, I don’t think bringing your work at home would be the right option.

  2. As you stated, the option to work from home can provide the employer and employee both several advantages. Allowing for workers to avoid excessive commutes helps to prevent frustration before the workday even begins and as you put it “adjust to start your day.” The reduction to cost to the company by not having to house employees, thus allowing for the excessive space to be eliminated and this cost to be reallocated. Productivity proved to increase (based on your data) and a more balanced work-home life tended to be more accessible.
    What I found to be interesting, noted the same by yourself, was the reaction of the employee to express their desire to return to a brick-n-mortar workplace after the 9 months of working at home. I think that if during these 9 months, the employer had requested the telecommuting employees to attend meetings at the office or other social settings, then perhaps less people would want to return to the office on a permanent basis.

  3. I totally agree with Jeff. I usually have a few things going on at once and going to work to ‘work’ takes my mind off my other projects so I can actually focus on the task in front of me. If I were to work from home any little distraction would throw my attention off and my productivity would be non existent. In short, I am scything that this sort of senario would only work for people that are a lot more disciplined than I. While i think that an hour and a half commute is ridiculous I don’t think I would want to work from home either. There is something about the work environment that facilitates the idea of actually working. There is a tie and place for everything.

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