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About Telework

What is Telework?

Related Concepts

Benefits of Telework

Benefits for Employees

Benefits for Organizations

Benefits for the Community

Telework Q&A

Q&A for Employees

Q&A for Organizations


There are many ways an organization can benefit from offering telework (shown below). Some of these benefits are really the result of "improved employee morale". A research study that correlated employee morale measurements with company share price showed that companies rated to have high employee morale saw their share price increase by 16%, compared with only a 3% increase for companies with low employee morale.

Improved Employee Retention
Reduced Overhead
Emergency Preparedness & Continuity of Operations
Commute Trip Reduction & Environment Goals
Reduced Absenteeism
Improved Productivity
Competitive Edge
Superior Corporate Citizenship

Improved Employee Retention: Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are less likely to be looking elsewhere. Numerous studies have shown that employees who telework have higher levels of job satisfaction than their coworkers who do not telework. Some of the most common reasons for employee satisfaction are time saved, greater schedule flexibility, reduced transportation cost, feelings of recognition and trust by employer, and fewer distractions for work requiring concentration. Here are some other facts about telework and employee retention:

  • Studies have also shown that workers in flexible work arrangements, like telework, have a more positive opinion of the organization and senior management.
  • The cost of employee turnover is high (some estimates are 25% or more of employee salary). Increased employee retention makes economic sense.
  • Telework helps retain "high-knowledge" employees who are nearing retirement, but may be willing to continue working under a flexible arrangement.
  • Many dual working households eventually find themselves in the difficult position of having to decide to relocate or commute a long distance when one of them is transferred. If one of the employers offers telework, it may prevent the relocation or long daily commute; because one spouse's employer offers telework, the other spouse, who cannot telework, may be able to keep his or her job.

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Reduced Overhead: Telework offers the potential for reduced overhead from real estate savings, energy savings, and reduced parking costs. Of course any actual savings are determined by many factors, such as the number of employees who telework and how often they telework. The cost of implementing a telework program, particularly equipment costs, needs to be factored in.

Some employers achieve real estate savings by eliminating the offices or workstations of teleworkers in favor of shared workstations. One model for this is called "hoteling", where employees make reservations for a workstation on the days they plan to work from the central office.

Even if you are unable to reduce real estate costs, a reduction in workstations may create a more generous work area for employees.

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Emergency Preparedness & Continuity of Operations: There are advantages to having a telework plan and infrastructure in the event of a disaster, whether natural or man-made. Staff and management may still communicate; clients can still be contacted; business goes on. Even if the organization is not interested in promoting telework, having employees in key areas trained and prepared for telework will place the organization in a better position continue vital work in the event of a disaster.

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Commute Trip Reduction & Environment Goals: The Washington Commute Trip Reduction Act applies to employers that have more than 100 employees at a single worksite starting their workday between 6-9 AM. These employers must develop a commuter plan in order to reduce the number of vehicle trips. Telework is one of several appropriate solutions. (See the links to the right for more information about CTR.)

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Reduced Absenteeism: Many of the causes of absenteeism can be relieved by telework:

  • Reports claim that teleworkers take fewer sick days, and teleworkers themselves consistently report less stress because they telework. Employees with a minor cold or flu may want to work at least part of the day from home. More importantly, by doing so they avoid spreading the virus to coworkers.
  • Snow days, and other weather emergencies, are a thing of the past if employees are equipped to telework - as long as they have power at home.
  • Parent-teacher conferences, a dentist appointment, being home to let the plumber in there are many reasons why employees may need an hour or two off during the middle of the day. If the commute is too long, employees may just take the day off. For many of these events, the employee can still get in a full day of work if they are working from home.
  • Maternity leave and family leave can be reduced when employees can work from home.

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Improved Productivity: Fewer distractions, reduced stress from avoiding the commute, and having a more flexible schedule, equals less absenteeism, improved job satisfaction, and more productive work. Teleworkers consistently report having fewer distractions at home than at work and frequently try to schedule their most difficult work for the days when they work from home.

Teleworkers may also be more motivated to meet deadlines in order to demonstrate to their manager that they can be trusted to telework. In addition, people who are most productive during unconventional hours (very early or very late) are well suited to telework and may find themselves being more productive than when previously working a normal shift.

Improved productivity may also result from a change in management style. Teleworking requires managers and employees alike to be more precise in their expectations and communications, often with written task objectives that focus on work performance.

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Competitive Edge: Organizations that offer telework and other flexible work arrangements have a competitive edge over organizations that don't. Telework is "perceived" by employees as an employee benefit. In particular, younger workers who are adept at remote or collaborative technologies may seek employers where they can utilize those skills. Having a telework program in place expands the human resources pool, particularly when employers offer teleworkers the technology to be effective remotely. The pool of potential recruits also expands when an organization can recruit from a larger geographic area and can attract individuals who for physical or other reasons don't drive or find it difficult to commute every day. There are also people who because of personal or family situations have no option but to seek employment with organizations that offer flexible arrangements.

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Superior Corporate Citizenship: Having an active telework program signals an organization's leadership as a good corporate citizen. It recognizes employees' need for balance between home and work. It helps reduce pollution. Fewer cars mean safer roads and reduced transportation construction costs.

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From The Study

Among managers who participated in the Telework Pilot Project, 95% agree that telwork helps employees concentrate on difficult tasks and 80% agree that it is good for employee morale.


In the Toolkit

Download the toolkit's Cost/Benefit Analysis Guide

For more information about Continuity of Operations, see the links on the toolkit's Authors & Articles page.


On the Web

Giving Employees What They Want: The Benefits are Huge
Knowledge @ Wharton, May 4, 2005

Pandemic Preparedness: Teleworking Best Practices
Wi-Fi Planet May 15, 2009

CTR Website

2007 CTR Report

Washington State Climate Change Website

About the Telework Pilot Project

Site Map

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This page was last updated on July 8, 2009