With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the workforce landscape significantly, many companies have transitioned their staff to remote work; however, even before the current crisis, businesses were starting to acknowledge the benefits of telecommuting.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released in 2019, more than 26 million Americans worked remotely on at least a part-time basis. BLS figures further reveal that the number of people working remotely jumped an impressive 115% from 2005 to 2015.
It’s no surprise that companies are embracing the concept, given the many telecommuting benefits. From decreased worker turnover to increased productivity, the advantages are good news not only for workers but also for companies. Savvy businesses are enjoying both practical and financial advantages.
Here’s how your business can enhance operations—and boost the bottom line—by putting in place a telecommuting team.
Is telecommuting worth it?
The above figures were reported in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic left even more businesses relying on remote work. Experts project the numbers will increase even more in the future, suggesting that the pandemic will continue to transform how we understand the “workplace” in the future.
Of course, transitioning a business from on-site to remote work takes some investments in terms of time and money. Workers may need to learn new tools, like online talent platforms and communications systems. Companies also need to learn how to set up and manage a remote IT infrastructure.
Additionally, managers need to master effective collaboration with remote teams. Research reveals that poorly prepared managers are often one of the hurdles standing in the way of successful remote workplaces. However, those who take the time to learn how to best motivate and communicate with people they don’t meet face to face will reap the benefits of a collaborative, engaged team.
Looking at the practical, operational, and financial telecommuting benefits for companies, there’s no doubt that the investment is worth it.
The benefits of telecommuting for businesses
Remote work is advantageous for both workers and companies. What’s more, the benefits of telework are evident for those who work remotely even on a part-time basis.
Here is a quick overview of the benefits enjoyed by companies that allow their teams to telecommute:
- More dedicated workers
- Increased productivity
- Higher-quality work
- Lower operational costs
- More eco-conscious operations
- A larger hiring pool of top talent
Read on to find out more about how your business can take advantage of these telecommuting benefits.
More dedicated workers
The American Psychological Association reports that remote work enhances job satisfaction. For one thing, workers don’t have to bear the costs—of time, effort, and actual money—of getting to and from a job site. Additionally, remote workers benefit from a certain level of flexibility. They can choose whether they want to work at home or a coworking space, for instance. Mentally, such freedom boosts morale.
So, how do companies benefit from this increased job satisfaction among workers? When professionals can create a workspace that they love—whether it’s their couch or a coffee shop—they tend to work more. According to the APA, those who telework log four hours more of working time per week compared to office-based professionals. Teleworkers are also more likely to go the extra mile, for instance, by responding to work emails outside of standard 9-to-5 hours.
Telecommuting workers aren’t just happier; they’re also more productive. In a survey of companies by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), 67% of respondents reported that their organization had seen an increase in productivity after giving workers the option to telecommute full or part time.
Just how does telecommuting improve productivity? The biggest reason for the boost in output is thanks to the elimination of commuting time. There is also the decreased availability of distractions that a face-to-face environment brings with it. Your team doesn’t lose time to water cooler gossip, resulting in more focused work and more prolific output.
Research shows that in terms of work output, telecommuting doesn’t just increase quantity; it also increases quality. In one study, supervisors were asked to rate the quality of a person’s work. Individuals who telecommuted were rated higher on average than those who didn’t.
The researchers concluded that the majority of remote professionals perform just as well as in the office, if not better. This may be because telecommuting eliminates many distractions. The stress of office politics virtually disappears. Plus, when they aren’t face to face, workers don’t have to worry about their colleagues showing up at their desk looking for immediate answers to nonemergency questions.
Lower operational costs
The same CompTIA survey found that companies were also able to cut costs with telecommuting teams. Some 59% of survey respondents pinpointed cost savings as one of the most significant advantages of transitioning to telework. It’s estimated that an average company saves $11,000 annually, on average, for even just one part-time telecommute professional.
With a remote workforce, you can save on everything from office supplies to travel costs. Remote workers don’t look for company-sponsored perks like a vehicle or public transportation ticket to support a commute to the office. On a larger scale, business travel has become less necessary thanks to cutting-edge video conferencing technology simplifying remote meetings.
These cost-saving benefits are particularly evident when you source independent talent through platforms like Upwork. By using independent professionals, you can save on overhead technology or office space costs and on hiring in highly competitive metropolitan areas where top talent is more expensive.
More eco-conscious operations
By decreasing the need for commuting, remote work also helps the environment and saves companies money in the process. Businesses focused on remote work don’t need to pay the costs of on-site operations, such as electricity and water. Reducing utilities costs is also good news for the environment and helps to reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
By prioritizing sustainability, you may even make your company more attractive to consumers (and, thereby, boost your marketability and, subsequently, the bottom line). A Nielsen study found that younger generations, notably millennials and Gen Zers, are eager to support eco-conscious businesses. These consumers are even willing to pay more for environmentally friendly goods and services.
A larger hiring pool of top talent
Last but not least, one of the most obvious telecommuting benefits for companies is that it opens up a global talent pool. There is no need to limit hiring on the basis of geography anymore. This means that HR professionals have more skilled workers to choose from than ever before. Companies can truly select the best and the brightest, from all over the world.
You also have around-the-clock access to talent to keep project initiatives moving. This is particularly beneficial for functions like social media moderation and customer support.
A workforce that spans the globe may even be a way to boost your company’s overall output. When your business can operate 24/7, it arguably can get more done. Having different people on the job in different time zones across the map means there is never a lag in productivity.
And this is where Upwork Enterprise can help. Working with our recruiters, we’ll help connect you with independent professionals based on your budget and business needs. You’ll have access to a large, talented pool of professionals ready to execute your project effectively from the start.
Find the right telecommuting talent
When it comes to remote talent, you want people you can trust. Upwork’s online talent platform connects you with a global network of skilled independent professionals. Our proprietary artificial intelligence technology will quickly match you with qualified experts and provide you with a detailed profile of each one. You can even read reviews of their work, view job success scores, and peruse sample projects.
This gives you greater control over your talent strategy, allowing you to pick the perfect candidate to suit your needs, regardless of location. Let UpWork help your company take advantage of the telecommuting benefits described above. Find out how to get started.