The trend of working from home- as telecommuter or freelancer- is definitely on an upswing despite large companies including Yahoo, Bank of America and IBM among others having recalled their employees back to workplace. Indeed, working from home does pose major challenges to employers.
Productivity of an employee spirals downwards- which was observed by some top employers. There are no ways to determine how many hours an employee has spent on working from home since the system permits flexible hours. Yet, data from various sources clearly indicates that working from home is a trend that will grow in future.
According to ‘The 2017 State of Telecommuting in the US Employee Workforce’ report, 3.9 million employees or 2.9 percent of the total American workforce did all or part of their work from home during 2015-2016, indicating a 115 percent increase over 2005. This report was compiled by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures also reflect this trend.
A report by NASDAQ indicates, over 43 percent of American workforce will consist of freelancers by the year 2020. In 2016, some 53 million Americans or 36 percent of the country’s total workforce were freelancers.
In view of these statistics from highly reliable sources, it is evident that working from home is the future of employment.
Work from Home and Future
There are several reasons why working from home is rapidly gaining momentum. The trend is not restricted to US alone. Statistics from Europe and developing economies of Asia also reflect that working from home is the future of employment, income and wealth generation.
Reason-1: Eliminating Long Commutes
A 2016 study by Auto Insurance Center (AIC) indicates, an average commuter spends 42 hours a week and US$960 in traffic snarls, which is much higher than work hours. Findings by the US Census Bureau in reveals, American employees wasted a collective 3.4 million years calculated in man-hours on commutes.
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices of gasoline are 75.81 percent higher in 2018 compared over the year 2000. AIC figures also indicate, 86 percent of Americans commute in own vehicles. 75 percent of these drive alone. Waiting at traffic junctions and snarls wastes 19 gallons of gasoline per commuter every year.
Long commutes cause stress, adversely impacting productivity of employees. Waste of gasoline at a time when the world is combating global warming borders onto blasphemy. Given these circumstances, a large number of companies will encourage telecommuting jobs or hire freelancers.
Reason-2: Employee Productivity
Productivity levels of telecommute employees ranked at 7.7 while that of office-bound staff stood at 6.5 on a scale of 10, according to a 2017 study by Canada Life. The study cited three main reasons for higher productivity among home-based workers over their office going counterparts.
Understandably, home-based workers had relatively lower stress levels because they did not need to commute daily. Elimination of commutes enables relaxed lifestyles resulting in better quality of life. Secondly, work from home means employees could dispense with the need to dress in formal, office attire- which also helped reduce time otherwise spent on preparing for the day’s work.
Above all, telecommuters reported they were able to focus better when working from home: there are no distractions peculiar to any office such as frequent telephone calls, buzz and clutter, pesky colleagues and irate bosses.
Reason-3: Reducing Staff Attrition
Permitting employees to work from home has shown excellent results in talent retention and lower staff attrition. This is a major advantage that employers are now eyeing. Single parents as well as highly skilled professionals who cannot commute daily can be retained by offering work from home jobs.
Studies conducted by Society for Human Resources Management and other organizations indicate, employers bear the brunt of staff attrition. They indicate, organizations stand to lose six to nine month salary of a departing staff by means of training and hiring costs. High attrition among lower income workers or those drawing US$30,000 and lesser can cost an employer around US$3,500 or about 16 percent of the employee’s annual wages. The figure increases for higher level positions.
Intrinsic costs also include advertizing a vacancy, man-hours spent in interviewing jobseekers, loss of productivity directly linked to attrition, training expenses and negative psychological impact on coworkers.
Reason-4: Attracting Better Talent
As competition in all sectors of the industry increases, companies are facing increasing difficulties in attracting excellent talent. Highly qualified and skilled personnel are usually unwilling to relocate. Hiring locally proves hard if a specific set of skills required by an organization are unavailable.
In such scenario, companies are able to attract better talent by offering telecommute or work-from-home jobs. Remote working makes it possible for organizations to source talent from any distant location within or outside the country.
Additionally, employers also save on relocation costs they would otherwise incur on getting an employee to their location and perks that generally accompany high skills staff moving from their hometown. Remote working or telecommuting dispenses the need for highly skilled staff to adjust to a new workplace and geographic location.
Reason-5: Lucrative Freelancing
Global payment gateway Payoneer, in a survey covering 180 countries and over 23,000 respondents found, freelancers earn much higher than office-goers. As noted earlier, freelance workforce in America and elsewhere in the world is on the rise. Various studies indicate, people who prefer home based jobs earn between 18 percent and 23 percent higher income than their office-bound counterparts.
Additionally, freelancers in most countries benefit from tax exemptions traditionally unavailable to those holding fixed jobs. The rise in number of platforms where freelancers can find and bid for projects as well as crowd-sourcing is fueling the increase in number of people that prefer to work from home.
Organizations too now look at freelancers to get specialized projects done rather than hire employees for short term. Hiring freelancers provides a better option to recruitment since costs of advertizing, man-hours wasted on screening and short-listing jobseekers as well as interview process and training are eliminated. Freelances will further drive the work from home job market in future.
There are several other reasons why work from home is the future trend. Burgeoning real estate prices renders it impossible even for large corporations to open offices at multiple locations. Providing work-from-home facilities circumvents such investments in terms of financial commitments and manpower.
Various surveys indicate, home workers are less prone to take sick leave. Canada Life studies reveal telecommuters on average avail only 1.8 days of sick leave per calendar year compared over 3.1 days by office-bound workers. These indicators clearly prove that work from home is the future of employment.