5 Benefits of Telecommuting for Your Small Business

04/22/2015 04:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2015

Employees the world over want to work from home, but many small businesses shy away from allowing telecommuting in their place of work. Maybe it's because they are afraid of losing control over employees, or maybe it's because they don't know enough about telecommuting as a benefit. If you own or run a small business, keep reading to learn how telecommuting can improve the overall efficiency and quality of your company, making it more eco-friendly.

  1. Increased Productivity Contrary to what many small business owners believe, research has shown that telecommuting actually increases productivity among workers. There seems to be an idea around telecommuting that involves PJ's, missed deadlines and a general careless attitude. This idea, though, is a major misconception. In fact, a Stanford University study of call center employees who worked from home showed an increase in productivity by 13 percent. Improved productivity leads to more efficient operations, which allows you to be more environmentally friendly.
  2. Higher Retention Rates Finding and recruiting quality staff is not for the faint of heart. It drains your resources, time and energy. With telecommuting, your employees are satisfied and are more likely to stay with your company long-term. Employees who are allowed to work remotely are happier than those who aren't. This level of employee happiness can save you a significant amount of money in the long-run by reducing costly employee turnover.
  3. Competitive Edge Because of the difficult process of recruiting, small business owners need an edge over the competition in order to hire and keep exceptional talent. That's exactly what telecommuting offers. Even if you can't provide the highest salary in your area, or the best health insurance, letting potential job candidates know that you're open to telecommuting as a benefit increases your odds of hiring the perfect person. Flexibility for workers to work where they prefer to work is critical to retention which is a driver of your competitive advantage.
  4. Environmental Friendliness More telecommuting means fewer cars on the road. The Consumer Electronics Association conducted a study that found telecommuting preserves enough energy to send power to a million homes in the U.S. for a whole year. Offering telecommuting is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, as well as the carbon footprint of your employees in addition to reducing their commuting costs. One day of telecommuting would be equal to saving 12 hours of electricity use of an average household.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness Believe it or not, employees aren't the only people who see telecommuting as a benefit financially. Employers save on things like office supplies, office space, and other overhead costs. In fact, it has been estimated that companies save approximately $11,000 per year for each telecommuting employee.

With the perks listed here, it's not hard to see telecommuting as a benefit to employers. Although it's a change to make in your workplace, incorporating telecommuting will have a huge impact. Give it a try and watch the improvement happen before your eyes.  Don't believe us? Watch this little video.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.

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