Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the popularity of telecommuting (employees working remotely from home). In fact, from 2007 to 2017, the number of Americans working remotely increased by 115% with 43% of Americans reporting they worked remotely at least part of the time by 2017. While telecommuting continues to grow across most sectors, it has become particularly popular amongst businesses in the tech industry as well as among those in finance and media (telecommuting is least common in education and retail).
The Primary Reasons Telecommuting is on The Rise
Seeing the statistics above, you may be wondering why telecommuting is on the rise. Wouldn’t having employees together reduce hassle and increase productivity? However, studies have shown this assumption to be false. Here are just a few of the benefits telecommuting can provide.
- Telecommuting Increases Productivity
- Offices Can Be a Distraction: While many would think it would be to everyone’s benefit to have all employees in the office, the fact is that modern offices have become very distracting places full of unnecessary meetings and constant distractions from fellow employees. In fact, a recent study found that employees who worked from home performed 13.5% more efficiently than when they were in the office due to reduced distraction.
- Commuting Reduces Productivity: Not only does being in the office reduce productivity, but so does the act of commuting to the office. Studies have found that long commutes have a drastic impact on employee health by increasing rates of obesity, heart disease, and depression, which resulted in absences and poor work performance. Telecommuting can then make employees happier and healthier while simultaneously increasing their productivity.
- Telecommuting Saves Businesses Money: Perhaps the greatest way businesses can benefit from a remote workforce is in the money they will save on business expenses by having employees telecommute. Every employee who works from home limits the amount of money a company will have to spend on office space, furniture, technology, supplies, and utilities, which can represent substantial savings. In fact, it is estimated that each year companies save upwards of 100 million dollars on their office leases by using remote employees.
Increased productivity, a happier workforce, and substantial savings on business expenses are just a few of the many reasons why telecommuting continues to rise in popularity amongst businesses. However, part of the reason why there has been a rise in telecommuting in recent years has been due to the advent of technology that has made remote work possible.
The Technology Needed for Telecommuting
The current rise in telecommuting has been made possible by current technologies that allow for remote collaboration. While telecommuting can prove beneficial for many businesses, there are a few technologies that businesses must first invest in to make this possible such as:
- Cloud Computing and Electronic Document Management Software: An essential tool for developing a remote workforce is cloud computing and electronic document management systems. For companies looking to develop a remote workforce, electronic document management is key as this will allow individuals to locate files and retrieve information digitally rather than needing to physically locate these files from a drawer somewhere. Cloud computing software then allows individuals to access these files, as well as software and applications, remotely and securely through the cloud from wherever they are working.
- Web Conferencing and VoIP Systems: Another critical piece of technology companies developing a remote workforce need is a modern VoIP phone system. These phone systems utilize the internet rather than a traditional phone line to send and receive calls, which allows individuals to use their phone service wherever they are as long as they have an internet connection. This allows employees to use their work phone line to communicate with colleagues, business partners, and customers from the comfort of their own home. Modern unified communications systems can be particularly beneficial for a remote workforce as these systems also often include features such as web chat and video conferencing, which can be vital in allowing remote employees to collaborate together from anywhere in the world.
Telecommuting continues to grow in popularity not only because of the benefits it can provide to businesses and employees alike but also due to the fact that technological advancements have made remote work easier and more convenient than ever before. Contact us to learn more about telecommuting and how it could benefit your business.