Measuring the Impact of Telework Week

I’ve long been an advocate of allowing employees to work remotely if at all possible. As a manger, I’ve found that enabling remote work at least part of the time boosts employee morale, loyalty and productivity.

The results of an experiment conducted this year bear me out. Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership that promotes telework, partnered with Cisco to establish 2011 National Telework Week, which encouraged organizations and individuals to pledge to telework for one week in February. Some 39,694 employees participated, and here’s what they and their employers learned, according to Telework Exchange’s recently released report:

  • More Productive: Both organizations and employees reported increased employee productivity during Telework Week.
  • More Time: Telework Week participants saved approximately two hours of commuting time each day. (Their average roundtrip commute was 50 miles.) If you consider time as money, teleworking two days a week is equivalent to a $3,439 annual raise.
  • More Support: Managers are more open to the concept than they have ever been. Sixty percent of organizations participating say management is more supportive of telework than just one year ago.

Work From Home: Telework Week

Here are the top five things management liked most about telework:

1. Improved employee work/life balance

2. Increased morale/employee satisfaction

3. Increased employee productivity

4. Improved business continuity

5. Improved understanding of telework best practices

What do employees like best about telework? An overwhelming number – 76 percent – say they were more productive.

Here’s something for everyone to like: Telework helps the environment. Based on the results of Telework Week, Telework Exchange estimates enabling the nation’s full-time wage and salary workers to telework just twice a week would save $215 billion and spare the environment 143 million tons of pollutants.

How can you make telework work for your business? Here’s some advice from the participants:

  • “Make a schedule so that everyone knows when each person is teleworking.”
  • “[Teleworkers need] a solid plan for the day, knowing deliverables and goals.”
  • “A supportive supervisor … [is critical for success].”
  • “Improve the IT infrastructure to ensure maximum efficiency of all systems and applications.”
  • “Improve the use of an electronic file system so that all hard copies are available from anywhere.”

Participants used laptops, landline phones, cell phones and Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections while teleworking.

The telework trend can only continue to grow given that 68 percent of the participating Gen Y employees said that, when they consider future jobs, they’ll give preference to those that offer telework.

Still not convinced? Consider this: 86 percent of those who participated in Telework Week worked for the federal government. If an organization as bureaucratic and staid as Uncle Sam can “get with the times” enough to offer telework, shouldn’t your business be able to do the same?


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

4 Reactions
  1. I agree 100% that teleworking is fantastic. Of course, I telework most of the time, but I believe that with the proper system in place any business can allow employees to telework.

  2. The problem is that the benefits are easy to see, but most feel victim to a system tht makes it to hard to figure out how to make this standard accessible and beneficial to more employees, small businesses, etc. Tax Credits like was done in Virginia, Telework Practice, Policy Help and Community education could Create Jobs, Save Companies Money, AND benefit the environment WHILE reducing impact on foreign oil. So much more can and should be done when unemployment is at 8.8% and Gas is $4/Gallon why are we driving around to and from work or looking for jobs.. Lets PRODUCE the possibilities that put people to work, save money, make money and save the earth! HERE, NOW in the U.S.

  3. Everyone looks at this from an employee’s perspective. It’s mostly a one sided deal. Sure moral is high and the “employee’s” work life/balance is improved. This is about “working” for a living and not yet another concept that is being exploited as another entitlement. I support a remote access environment for my company and my staff is eating its own dog food by working from home as well. What you’re not told is that “most” employee’s are not self-disciplined enough to handle such working conditions.

    There is only TWO benefits to teleworking one should “realistically” expect; 1) not having to drive into work and 2) not having to shower or shave in the morning. Ok, 3) a little more sleep in the morning. Other than that, working from home does not mean that you can babysit your kids in the background, tend to other chores or spousal requests during work hours. You’re on the clock and have delivery requirements.

    They tell me as a manager that I must manage by measuring “results” now rather than visually observing productivity. BS. Human nature is that while the boss is away, the mice will tend to play, or be less productive.

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