On October 8 this year, it’s time to hit snooze on your alarm, lock the car in the garage, and turn that spare room into a home office.
It’s National Work from Home Week, an initiative from webcam and video conferencing specialists Logitech designed to highlight the benefits of telecommuting. As with any corporate-driven celebration, there’s obviously a commercial angle at play here–Logitech is the dominant webcam manufacturer–but the thing is, they’ve got a point.
Telecommuting, or working remotely over the internet with the help of cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing apps, is growing in popularity and can make a major change to your workplace. At its most basic, telecommuting removes the daily commute from your life; imagine your working week without the chore of driving to and from work–you’d lower your stress and save time and money. That’s just the beginning. Research has found that employees are happier, more productive, and stay longer in their jobs when they telecommute.
The benefits of telecommuting for employers are even greater. Not only do they get a happier workforce that gets more done during the week, but they can also make significant financial and environmental savings when employees stay home.
And that makes National Work from Home Week worth celebrating.
Second Annual Work from Home Week
Logitech launched National Work from Home Week last year. It estimates its own employees and contractors saved an average of 90 minutes per day by ditching their commutes and staying out of the office. In addition, they prevented the release of more than 130,000 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the equivalent emissions of 150,000 car miles.
To celebrate this year’s event, Logitech is encouraging other companies to promote telecommuting by offering them a work from home toolkit. Within the company, they’re asking that all employees who can perform their duties from outside the office be allowed to give it a try, if not all week then at least on National Work from Home Day (Wednesday, October 10).
And making the move to remote work is not as difficult as you might think. We were surprised to learn that about 50% of Americans hold a job that is compatible with telecommuting. What’s more, a recent report from telecommuting job site FlexJobs found that the most common remote careers weren’t necessarily in the fields you might think of when you think of telecommuting (like software engineering or IT), but were in areas such as accounting, teaching, client services, and even nursing. These are among the most common professions in America, and proof that the benefits of telecommuting are within reach of many businesses.
The Benefits of Telecommuting for Employers
Many employees are already pursuing those benefits. The number of telecommuters working in the U.S. grew by more than 115% through the 12 years from 2005 to 2017, and the number of businesses offering remote work increased by 40% over the past five years.
During that time, employers and researchers have reported some very positive trends among the remote working community
According to research, remote workers:
- Are 35-40% more productive than their on-site colleagues
- Work an extra five hours per week
- Are less likely to leave their jobs
- Take fewer sick days
- Report being happier than those who work in an office
If you’re an employer, that’s a dream scenario. More efficient, happier employees who work longer hours and take less time off. And there’s more.
At the height of its work-from-home boom, IBM saved more than $100 million annually on real estate costs alone. Now, the average employer doesn’t have the global footprint to save that amount of money, but it’s worth noting that every employee who stays home is one fewer person that needs a desk, a computer, supplies, and perhaps a parking spot.
Furthermore, those environmental savings Logitech reported from last year’s inaugural National Work from Home Week also carry over to energy savings and related cost reductions. Fewer people in-house means lower energy consumption, and therefore lower bills, as a result of office necessities such as lighting, climate control, and computers which are left on all day.
National Work from Home Week is a good way for employers to start reaping those telecommuting rewards.
Join the Work from Home Celebration
Transitioning to a telecommuting-friendly workplace means making sure your employees are equipped to get their job done off-site. It’s not, however, an expensive undertaking. The starting point for any home office setup is a solid internet connection, and the average U.S. broadband speeds we employ at home to watch videos on demand and surf the web are sufficient to handle all the file sharing, video calls, and messaging needed to put a working network in place.
Next comes a reliable video conferencing network to keep everyone in touch online. VC Daily recently compared the best-performing platforms for 2018, and we can recommend a number of freemium apps that are feature-rich, such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype for Business, and Amazon Chime.
The only other technological must-have for employees is a quality webcam. A solid, consumer-grade webcam can cost as little as $100 and deliver HD quality visuals and frame rates smooth enough to facilitate even large group chats. And of course, it’s a good idea for telecommuters to carve themselves out a dedicated space to work, with a reliable computer and reasonably sized monitor, and a comfortable mouse and keyboard (and if you or your employees are in need of any of these things, Logitech’s giveaway includes a number of them, like a keyboard, webcam, and mouse). While some companies provide their remote employees with perks like laptops and stipends for co-working spaces, working from home is a big enough perk on its own that these bonuses aren’t expected, and certainly aren’t necessary if your company is dipping its toe in the water–so to speak–to take part in National Work from Home Week.
And that’s it–all the flexibility and advantages of telecommuting are available with those few necessities. So why not take Logitech up on its invitation, grab one of their telecommuting toolkits, and see what a difference working from home can make for your workplace? You just might decide every week should be Work from Home Week.