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Effect of Telecommuting on Absenteeism

written by: jahunt1•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 5/19/2010

Telecommuting has many benefits for employers who are wise enough to allow this work option for their employees. One of the important benefits to both employers and employees is the reduction in employee absenteeism. Important studies are being done on the effect of telecommuting on absenteeism.

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    Telecommuting Can Reduce Employee Absenteeism

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    Telecommuting is a growing trend in business. Advances in technology are enabling employees to connect with work via a remote computer work station, telephones, modems and fax machines. Employers and employees are both seeing the benefits of telecommuting in increased employee productivity, less time spent traveling, reduction in employee turnover among many other benefits. One of the important aspects of telecommuting is the reduction in employee absenteeism.

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    Employee Benefits

    Telecommuting can result in less sick days and absenteeism for the employee. Working from home can reduce employee stress by reducing time spent in traffic congestion and commuting to and from an office. Employees find great satisfaction in increasing their time available for personal and recreational activities by working at home. Decreasing stress can reduce employee illnesses thus improving employee productivity and satisfaction. An employee who needs time to care for a sick child will not need to take a day off but can stay home with the child and may even be able to work from the home computer station. The effect of telecommuting on absenteeism is a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer.

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    Employer Benefits

    An Illinois-based human resource consultant, CCH Inc., reports that a business may lose an estimated $789 per employee per year because of illness and emergency time off. This expense can quickly add up. An employer with just 20 employees could lose as much as $16,000 per year due to employee absenteeism. Very large employers may lose millions of dollars per year. These costs do not even include the expense of lost productivity and paying other employees overtime to taking up the slack caused by absenteeism. Decreasing an employee's stress due to commuting back and forth to the office will greatly reduce illnesses and time taken off for other emergency reasons. An employee who may be slightly ill and would not drive into the office will still feel well enough to work from a home computer work station. The decrease in employee's illnesses will also result in additional savings for employers by less benefits paid out in medical claims.

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    Increased Productivity

    Another effect of telecommuting on absenteeism is seen in increased employee productivity. Many employees begin their day being unproductive after winding down from a long commute drive. An employee who is already at home is ready to begin work at the appropriate time avoiding the stress and delays of traffic. Beginning the workday well rested will make employees more productive and in the long run increase company benefits. This may also even decrease employee turnover by increasing employee satisfaction.