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Telecommuting Could Save Small to Mid-Sized U.S. Businesses $124B

Small to mid-sized businesses in the U.S. could save $124 billion in real estate, electricity and related costs by implementing a telecommuting strategy, according to a white paper and new ebook on telecommuting.

The TeleResearchNetwork ebook, “Workshifting: Bottom Line Benefits,” sponsored by Citrix, quantifies the benefits of telecommuting on small to mid-sized businesses, individuals and nations.

The report finds that less than two percent of U.S. employees work from home the majority of the time (not including the self-employed), but 40 percent have jobs that are compatible with telework.

A key finding shows that if employees who wanted to telecommute (about 80 percent) did so only half of the time, businesses could save $124 billion in real estate, electricity, and related costs as well as increase productivity by more than $235 billion. Other benefits include improving work life balance and better addressing the needs of disabled workers.

A CEA commissioned study in 2008 found one day of telecommuting saves the equivalent of up to 12 hours of an average household’s electricity use, while an earlier study showed that U.S. telecommuters save 840 million gallons of gas per year.

The report also looks at the savings for the nation if businesses implement or increase their telecommuting policies. The U.S. could save 289 million barrels of oil, reduce greenhouse gases by 53 million tons/year, and cut road travel by 115 billion miles/year. Other savings include a reduction in pollution from road work and new office construction and preservation of open space.

The report estimates the total economic impact of nearly $650 billion annually. Click here for the company’s Telework Model 2010, a calculator to help businesses quantify the potential savings of home-based work.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would guarantee federal employees the right to telecommute 20 hours every two work weeks. The Senate has already passed a similar bill.

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4 thoughts on “Telecommuting Could Save Small to Mid-Sized U.S. Businesses $124B

  1. Sounds great, but I can’t see telecommuting happening for a manufacturing or processing company. What kinds of companies would really benefit from telecommuting? Are there any business owners out there who think telecommuting is really such a great idea?

  2. As a telecommuter, I can tell you it works, not all professions of course, but we have virtual teaching, sales, billing. I would rather see US companies offer telecommute support positions, than farm them out overseas.

  3. Telecommuting is a significant answer to many business, transportation and social problems. Live video and audio are now as mainstream as TV. If you can hear, see and interact with the same materials in real time with any number of people why is it so important to smell them? Because smell is the only communication style missing from telecommuting or teleeducating.

    Middle management is the only thing that holds back the next revolution in the work place. Upper management only cares about the bottom-line and the rank and file is always more computer capable than those above them because they usually younger and more open to new technologies. The rank and file would gladly work an extra hour a day if they knew they didn’t have to waste three hours getting back and forth to work. Conjestion on the freeways could be reduced overnight if every other day half of a downtown’s workforce worked from home.

    This concept was introduced to the city of Seattle’s core governmental entities two years ago, all blue hairs or non-techs. They said it sounded good in maybe a decade or two after the glitches had been worked out of the systems. It was truly a remarkable day.

    Middle management or dinosaurs, from my observances are far to slow to move in any direction thus they hold back the evolution of most their organizations.

    It seems a no-brainer to me, telecommunicating is probably the most doable and cost-effective way to advance several problem areas of our society but it is never fully embraced, except on TV.

  4. Research is not as clear cut as this article would make it seem. Some scientists are arguing that one need consider the offset use of time, energy, fuel, etc. For example, while not using the office electricity, the home-based worker uses electricity while at home. The fuel not used to commute may be used for something else – like travel or shopping.
    The data showing the environmental benefit of telework needs to be reality based – not based on the assumption that if people aren’t at the office they aren’t consuming.

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