Telework Research Network’s (TRN) has published a white paper (sponsored by Citrix Online) aimed at quantifying the benefits of workshifting (working from home) for employers, employees and the community (in the US).
The paper, entitled ‘Workshifting Benefits: The Bottom Line’, analysed existing data from a variety of sources as well as interviews with virtual employers and others. It’s conclusions are based on several assumptions (from previous research), including the fact that 40% of workers could work from home at least part of the time and 79% of that population would choose to if given the opportunity. It provides the conclusions for companies with 50, 100, and 500 workshifters and for the US as a whole.
The paper looks at a variety of aspects of savings, including employer benefits, employee benefits and community savings. There’s lots of detail, here’s some of the conclusions (based on 100 people working from home for 50% of the time):
• There is a 27% increase in productivity when people work from home. Based on US average earning figures that would save a company $576K per year.
• Working from home half time saves 18% of office costs and 4,400 kWh electricity savings per person per year, saving another $304K.
• $113K is saved from reduced unscheduled absences
• $36K is saved by employees in reduced gas/petrol costs (a figure that would be much higher in Europe!). Other work expenses – parking, food, clothing, etc – reach $384K
Other benefits, such as the cost of importing oil, emissions savings (129 metric tonnes for 100 workshifters or 52.8 million metric tonnes for the US as a whole), traffic accident costs, and highway maintenance are also detailed in the paper.
The bottom line is that the total benefit to the community is $1,579,621 for 100 people working from home. The benefit is split $1,069,535 to the employer, $420,333 to the employees and $89,752 to the community.
It’s an interesting study that uses existing research extensively to reach its conclusions. What’s good is that it provides a very broad view of the benefits and it’s this sort of joined-up thinking that’s required to change habits. It helps businesses understand the full benefits (not just financial) of moving to more home working and shows governments the benefits of encouraging the move. Home working is something that governments around the world will need to promote to help reach their emissions reductions targets.
The paper also quotes research from TechCast, a George Washington University think tank, that forecasts that 30% of the employees in industrialised nations will telework 2–3 days a week by the year 2019. Interestingly, the forecast included an estimate that the market for related products and services would be $400bn a year. A lot of that will be Green ICT.