Marissa Mayer was five months pregnant when she began serving as the CEO of Yahoo!, and her employees expected their new boss would adopt a family-oriented approach to running the company. However, the charismatic corporate leader has been in the hot seat since announcing a ban on telecommuting for freelance writers, editors, and other members of the digital workforce. Despite the somewhat negative reputation of employees who work from home, several studies have actually found that telecommuters are more productive and less stressed than their in-office counterparts.
A recent study at Stanford University revealed that call center employees were 13% more productive when they worked out of their homes, while researchers at University of Texas Austin found that telecommuters work an average of five to seven hours more per week that office workers. These two reports run counter to the widespread perception of telecommuters as people who work in their pajamas in front of the television.
Another factor related to telecommuting is reduced turnover. Recent studies show that 73% of those who work from home are happy with their employers; in contrast, 64% of traditional commuters feel the same way. Experts also argue that by not having to drive to work or purchase expensive clothes, employees who telecommute also deal with much less stress on a day-to-day basis than other members of a company’s workforce.
Finally, telecommuting is eco-friendly. The Consumer Electronics Association found that the amount of energy saved by a large number of people working from home is enough to power 1 million American homes for one year.
When 5 months pregnant Marissa Mayer accepted the position of CEO of Yahoo, family-oriented employees everywhere were hoping her hiring would kick off a work-life balance revolution. However, her recent ban on telecommuting seems like a big step back in time. While Mayer has her reasons, many experts agree that telecommuting is actually good for business. Here are a handful of the benefits Yahoo will be missing out on by disallowing telecommuting:
- Increased Productivity: One Stanford study shows call center employees increased their productivity 13% when allowed to work from home. A study from University of Texas Austin shows telecommuters work 5-7 hours more than their in-office counterparts. While it’s easy to think there are too many distractions for employees working from home, the truth is quite the contrary.
- Reduced Turnover: The cost of turnover is relative to each company – but always considerable. By allowing telecommuting, employees will be happier and therefore less likely to quit. Studies show 73% of telecommuters reporting being happy with their employer compared to just 64% of commuters. Allowing employees to telecommute isn’t just about working in pajamas – it shows employees that their manager’s trust them, boosting esteem and motivation.
- Improved Morale, Reduce Stress: Americans hate driving to work, and telecommuting reduces employees need to spend money on expensive clothes, fuel, and more. Plus, there is less stress in preparing for a day of work from home. A study from Pennsylvania State University shows telecommuters are regularly less stressed and happier than people working in office.
- Saving the World: Alright, saving the world is a tall order, but the Consumer Electronics Association did a study that showed telecommuting saves enough energy to power 1 million homes in the United States for an entire year, making telecommuting just another way businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.