Telecommuting is Growing
Telecommuting is becoming a growing trend in companies all around America. Telecommuting can take place in the form of working at home or at another off-site location for part or all of the work week. The employee commutes by telephone or other electronic means such as a home computer. Millions of Americans have found a successful alternative to the hustle and bustle of long work commutes by telecommuting. The government has started giving companies, especially in the most traffic congested cities, monetary incentives for encouraging their employees to telecommute.
How Many Americans Telecommute?
The International Telework Association estimated that there were 31 million workers who work at home via computer in 2003. The numbers may be far greater than reported as many sales representatives and freelancers are not reported in these statistics. Telecommuting is growing in acceptance among employers as a viable and money saving alternative to on-site employees.
Company Telecommuting Statistics
Many employers have reported enormous savings by hiring telecommuters to work for them. In 1996, Ernst & Young, an accounting and consulting firm, reported reducing office space by 2 million feet and saving a reported $25 million per year. In the same year, AT&T stated that 3.5 percent of their employees telecommute, saving the company $80 million in real estate costs. Hewlett-Packard also reported 2,500 employees out of 56,000 were telecommuters.
Fortune 1000 executives were asked in a GSA survey their opinions on telecommuting. Sixty-four percent reported savings in real estate costs, fifty-eight percent reported increased employee productivity, sixty-three percent reported drops in employee turnover ratio and ninety-two percent of these executives said telecommuting was resulting in monetary savings for their organizations.
Statistics on Travel Impacts of Telecommuting
As reported in an analysis of the State of California Telecommuting Pilot Project, telecommuters reduced their distance traveled by 75 percent and reduced freeway miles by 90 percent. Telecommuters reported taking fewer long distance trips and keeping their destinations closer to home. The Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Association reported in 2002 a 4% savings in miles traveled by passenger cars due to 1.6 percent of the workforce telecommuting. Telecommuting is resulting in lowering congested traffic and reducing highway vehicle fuel usage. These factors combine to produce favorable environmental outcomes by reducing gas emissions and improving the overall air quality.
Other Important Telecommuting Statistics
Telecommuters reduce their risk of being in a traffic related accident by reducing the amount of time spent in rush-hour traffic. Studies show a downward trend in annual motor vehicle deaths cause from work commutes in the year of 2002 by .49 percent. Estimates in 2002 reported 10.4 percent of the labor force as telecommuters with 49.7 percent working at home and 50.3 percent working from telework centers. These workers telecommuted approximately 3-4 days of a 5-day work week.
There are many benefits to telecommuting that cannot be accurately reflected in statistics such as time and money saved for telecommuters and the reduction of stress for these employees. Telecommuting will continue to be a growing trend in business and the benefits for both employees and employers will continue to be watched and analyzed in future years.