With a laptop, cell phone and a reliable internet connection, any place you go can be considered an office these days. Teleworking or telecommuting–working from a remote location outside of a traditional office setting–is becoming more prevalent with advances in technology and innovative business. In fact, approximately 20-25% of the U.S. workforce teleworks at some frequency. Even with these advances in technology and flexibility in the business world, is teleworking really worth it for employers and employees? Our reply is yes! It is worth it. The remainder of this post explores a few of the main advantages of teleworking and how Utah’s businesses can benefit from incorporating teleworking practices into their business culture.

First, there are environmental reasons which make telecommuting worth it for businesses. The ability to work from most anywhere can be valuable to employees, employers and, in effect, all Utahns during periods poor air quality by keeping regular commuters off the road and reducing vehicle emissions. Teleworking offers an easy and effective way to address federal clean air requirements and reduce a company’s carbon footprint. Global Workplace Analytics reports that if Americans with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so for half their work time, the greenhouse gas reduction would be equivalent to taking the entire New York state workforce permanently off the road. That is a significant statistic, yet shows the collective impact teleworking can have on improving the environment.

Teleworking can also improve employee productivity and satisfaction while saving employers money. Teleworking is cited as one of the top non-financial benefits desired by employees. 80% of employees surveyed by Global Workplace Analytics considered teleworking a job perk and 36% would choose flexible work schedules or telecommuting options over a pay raise. At the same time, nearly six out of ten employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to telecommuting. These cost savings include real estate and other office expenses and gasoline and parking reimbursement costs. In essence, providing teleworking options benefits both the employer and the employee.

Remember, teleworking doesn’t have to be difficult or even particularly permanent. TravelWise recommends checking with your company’s human resources department to determine if there is a telework program already established or if there is interest in creating one. Although it’s not for everyone, there are simple ways employees can telework, even just once a week, that will improve the environment, increase productivity, and save money. Discuss with a supervisor which aspects of teleworking would work best for you and your department’s workload. For example, a supervisor could  encourage their employees to work remotely on an especially poor air quality day, or an employee could skip a  trip to a meeting and phone conference instead. These simple strategies can effectively save time, gas money, reduce traffic congestion and improve Utah’s air quality.  Teleworking is worth it because even small changes made by businesses and their employees add up to making a big difference for Utah’s air quality. For more information and to commit your business to teleworking or other clean air strategies, visit cleanairchampion.com.  

Data for this blog post was retrieved from San Diego-based globalworkplaceanalytics.com, one of the foremost authorities on how, when, and where people are working.