With the mass hysteria about the outbreak of the COVID-19 aka the Coronavirus, a lot of major companies are asking their employees to work from home in an effort to try and lessen the spread of the virus.
Microsoft recently asked its employees in Silicon Valley and Seattle to work from home, as did Facebook and Google. Amazon asked its employees worldwide to stay home if they can. Even schools and universities are closing and asking students and teachers to carry on with online-courses instead of meeting face-to-face.
Given the mass amounts of employees now working from home, the effectiveness of telecommuting is being tested for the first time on a large scale. It has been talked about for the past 20 years as being the next new wave of work culture, as telecommuting has been found to have a lot of benefits for companies and employees. Even though the amount of those who work from home has increased immensely (in recent years with around 43% of American’s work remotely) the world has never seen this number, until now.
So, how exactly does telecommuting benefit not only companies but also employees as individuals? Here are some ways telecommuting has been proven to be beneficial.
It’s better for your health.
Obviously, not going to work when you’re sick or feeling unwell is the best thing you can do for your colleagues, especially right now with the spread of coronavirus. Having the option to work from home when you are ill is great for employees—not only are they less likely to come to work sick and spread viruses, they are able to get work done that they would have otherwise missed just taking a sick day. This is beneficial to companies and their employees, as work is still getting done but employees are kept safe from sickness.
Companies can cut costs on office space.
The cost of running an office can be immense no matter how big or small your company is. According to an article from Forbes, the insurance giant Aetna claims it shed 2.7 million square feet of office space and as a result, saved $78 million. Not only does telecommuting save on the costs of renting and running a building, but it also saves money on things like office supplies, furniture, equipment, coffee, and janitorial services.
Telecommuters are more productive.
Those who work from home work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based colleagues, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. Without a commute and the distractions that typically pop-up in an office, remote workers stay productive longer than those in the office.
It’s better for the environment.
When fewer employees have to commute to work, there are fewer cars on the road. According to Virtual Vocations, telecommuting reduces the use of gasoline, carbon emissions, air pollution, and energy use. Employees working from home are also likely to use fewer paper and plastic products. The possibility of more people being able to work from home brings a lot of hope to the improvement of the environment.
Hopefully, the coronavirus outbreak will improve and the impact on the world and its people does not become more detrimental than it already is, but we may come out of this with a silver lining—companies realizing that they can function just as well (or maybe better) with more telecommuters than they thought possible. And as a bonus—employees will know that they’re valued and their well-being is important to their employers.
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This article was written by Carlee Nilphai.
Carlee Nilphai is a freelance writer based in Lancaster, PA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Print Journalism from Millersville University in 2019.