Can Telecommuting Benefit Your Business?

Although many companies remain reluctant to offer telecommuting to their employees, there is growing evidence of the benefit from flexible working arrangements for the environment and for your business. The Telework Research Network estimates that telecommuting has the potential to eliminate over 51 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year in the U.S. alone (reducing total emissions from personal vehicles by over 15 percent), while also improving worker productivity and lowering operating costs.

Has your business considered a telecommuting option for its employees? Though off-site work may not be appropriate for every job, many companies are finding that telecommuting provides many great business advantages.

As one example, Green Business Bureau member FlexJobs is a leading job service for hand-screened and professional flexible, part-time, telecommuting, and freelance job listings. As a sustainability-focused company, Flexjobs seeks to promote positions that allow people to work in environmentally responsible ways. In line with its business vision, all FlexJobs employees are telecommuters working from home offices.

One of the most significant business advantages to this approach has been low operational costs. FlexJobs founder Sara Sutton Fell notes, “Not having office space to eat/cool/construct/clean/maintain certainly decreases costs along with our carbon footprint. Because we are an almost-paperless office, our printing costs are virtually zero.”

Management fear and mistrust has been cited as one of the most significant barriers to increasing the number of telecommuters in the U.S., and Sutton Fell recognizes that challenge. With a small business team of 16 employees throughout the United States and Europe, Sutton Fell has found, “With such a flexible workforce, it’s important to trust that our employees will make the decisions that are right for them and for the environment.”

As part of building that trust, all Flexjobs staff have pledged to work as green as possible in their home offices by implementing waste reduction, energy conservation, and indoor air quality initiatives. This can include home improvements like replacing incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency CFL or LED lighting, eliminating air leaks around windows and doorways, and purchasing only recycled paper and other office products. It also can involve changes in habit, like making sure lights are turned off when not in use, choosing natural lighting and ventilation whenever possible, and using fans or layered clothing to reduce reliance on heat and air conditioning. All of this not only has resulted in greener business practices, but also has had the effect of lowering employees’ home utility bills.

Whether your business is looking for new ways to lower operating expenses, is seeking to improve employee productivity and retention, or is aspiring to operate more sustainably by reducing your ecological footprint, telecommuting can be a great opportunity for you to explore. If your business model isn’t appropriate for a full-time telecommuting structure, consider the benefits of other flexible working strategies, such as partial telecommuting or telecommuting for selected job positions.

Flexjobs’ experience shows that with the right approach, a small business can successfully implement telecommuting, and it has the potential to offer you a more efficient, more productive, and more sustainable business.

About Marcos Cordero

Marcos J. Cordero is the co-founder and CEO of the Green Business Bureau, a leading green business certification organization that helps small and mid-sized businesses implement sustainability practices.
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3 comments
RickCharles
RickCharles

I think telecommuting is not beneficial at all to any business. They biggest problem is data insecurity and employee feels more relax while working on home but when they are in office the working environment encourage them to work. Anyways I want to hire a company to stabiles operations & back office in my firm. I got to know about <a href="http://www.fieldandtechnicalservicesllc.info"> Field and Technical Services </a>. Do you have any idea about them?

Blondie62
Blondie62

A really good telecommuting site offers a good variety of real jobs and positions. A friend of our family from Wisconsin works doing the accounting books for a traveling salesman, she is 60 years old and does this job from home because she is disabled. Companies should consider hiring more work from home employees. Take for example my sister's case, who worked as a secretary (now days I think they call them Administrative Assistants) who was recently laid off from a Catholic charter elementary school due to downsizing. She e-mailed me about looking into a telecommuting job online at a website called www.JobBoard4Home-Workers.info she says she is doing this because jobs around Mankato and Eagle Lake,Minnesota are scarce. I do think she will be successful in landing a job since she is a very talented person. At any rate, I think telecommuting jobs are our best bet when it comes to unemployment and a trend that is here to stay.

Jan Fletcher
Jan Fletcher

I attended the first national telecommuting conference in Seattle in 1992. The majority of the participants were city personnel from LA hoping to solve gridlock. There were so many missed opportunities over the years to encourage this seemingly easy way to solve so many environmental concerns. I am glad to see it is finally becoming an acceptable business practice. Great article!

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  1. [...] Telecommuting offers additional flexibility to your employees. By allowing staff to work some days or hours at or near home, without physically traveling to your business’s premises, you may have greater leverage in wooing top talent. [...]