6 Reasons To Hire Telecommuters

BY: ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2012

Even though telecommuting is an increasingly common workstyle, managers are still quick to come up with reasons not to hire telecommuters. It’s difficult to manage a virtual workforce, they’ll slack off if working from home, and so on. But there are so many excellent reasons to hire telecommuters that it’s getting harder to justify not doing it.

Here are six reasons to hire telecommuters.

6) Expand your talent pool.


By hiring only regionally-based professionals, you’ve limited your company’s talent pool to a specific geographic region, which often has little to do with the quality of the applicants. Expand your talent pool by offering telecommuting roles for people who live outside your immediate metro area, state, or part of the country. In addition, telecommuting is an excellent workstyle for people with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act determined that working from home is a “reasonable accommodation” for this population.

5) Grow your business on the cheap.


Companies who need to expand their business development but don’t want to open new expensive satellite offices should hire telecommuters. You can pinpoint specific parts of the country where your company would thrive with new business and hire local business development professionals to work from home. No extra real estate or overhead costs necessary.

4) Reduce real estate and operational costs.


If, like many companies, your major static costs are real estate and overhead like utilities, transitioning your current workforce into telecommuting can save you a bundle. According to the Telework Research Network, a typical business saves $11,000 per telecommuting employee per year in overhead costs.

If you’re a small business with 50 employees, and only half of them work from home, you’re still saving $275,000 each year! And if you’re a large business, your savings skyrocket. Through telecommuting, IBM reported cutting its costs by $50 million, Dow Chemical says it saves over 30% on non-real estate costs, and Nortel estimates that it saves $100,000 for every employee that it doesn’t need to relocate. The cost-benefit of telecommuting is undeniable.

3) Have more productive, healthier employees.


Recent studies by Stanford University and the University of Minnesota show that telecommuting employees are measurably more productive than their office-bound counterparts. One study tracked customer service employees and found that the telecommuters took 15 percent more calls and worked 11 percent more hours than their in-office colleagues.

The University of Minnesota studied Best Buy employees who worked in a results-only work environment (working wherever, whenever, and however they wanted), and workers reported getting an extra hour of sleep every night, giving them higher energy levels and lower levels of stress and exhaustion, which leads to a more productive workforce.

2) Reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction.


The cost of losing an employee can be $10,000 to $30,000 including the lost productivity, and the recruiting, hiring, and training of a new employee. Two-thirds of American workers say they would take a new job to reduce their commute time, so rather than risk losing a valued employee and spending unnecessarily to replace them, let them work from home, or hire telecommuters to begin with.

In addition, the option to telecommute makes employees happy. Work-life balance is becoming more important to employees, and two-thirds report wanting to work from home at least some of the time. 80% of employees consider telecommuting a job perk, and 36% would take a cut in pay to be able to work from home. Telecommuting employees are happier because they’re less involved in office politics, they’re interrupted less, and they have a better work-life balance.

1) Bring jobs to rural America.


One of the biggest issues in today’s job market is the lack of skilled talent where there are open jobs. If you’re having a hard time finding the right employees for your job openings in your particular region, hiring telecommuting employees opens you up to a much wider variety of skilled talent. Companies like Rural America Onshore Outsourcing help companies take advantage of a large pool of talented, skilled workers who live in rural parts of the country. Hiring these professionals as telecommuters both helps them to find work that is otherwise scarce in their region, and eliminates your skills deficit.

Slowly but surely, it’s becoming an accepted idea: telecommuting jobs are good for employees and employers alike. The next time you’re hiring to fill a vacant position, or adding an entirely new one, consider making it a telecommuting role.

About the Author

Brie Weiler Reynolds

Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Director of Content and Social Media at FlexJobs.com, the award-winning site for telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance job listings. With a background in human resources and career advising, Brie has over 8 years of experience working with job seekers and employers, and she offers career and hiring advice on the FlexJobs Blog and social media.

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