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The three most important advantages of telecommuting and flexible working

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More and more organizations are making large-scale systematic use of telecommuting and flexible working. This means that an increasing number of employees are being given the opportunity to decide when and where they work. Not only are employees enjoying major advantages such as being able to choose when they will devote their time to various activities; organizations, too, are reaping substantial benefits. Here are the three most important advantages.

1. Cost savings

On average, only 50-60% of the workstations in a traditional office are occupied (source: This is because of a substantial increase in the number of part-time employees. As a result, the occupation of these workstations varies from day to day and sometimes even from hour to hour. A workstation is very expensive to maintain: on average, an organization is investing between € 11,000 and € 17,000 per year for each workstation (source: facana). These costs are made up of expenses related to office accommodation and organizational expenses. Examples are insurance policies, water and energy, and building maintenance. Making more effective use of workstations will thus mean substantial savings for an organization. A higher occupation rate for workstations can be achieved by instituting the use of flexible workstations. Office space could then be organized according a concentration of workstations separate from meeting areas. This will have to begin, however, by investing in the new workstations. Important points to consider in this process are workstations that can be adjusted to various heights, a laptop and ergonomic computer accessories.

2. Productivity

As it turns out, telecommuting and flexible working also have a beneficial effect on work productivity. Employees can make the best possible use of their time by carrying out specific activities in the work environment most suited for these activities. Starting the day at home by checking incoming e-mails is a lot more efficient than spending time in a traffic jam. Findings from a study by PwC show that this efficiency can cautiously be estimated at 2% and could even be higher. Microsoft indicates an increase in productivity of 28 minutes per day (5.8%).

This higher productivity is the result of:
• Fewer interruptions
• A flexible, efficient use of time
• A feeling of trust
• Less absenteeism due to sickness and stress
• More time for exercise

3. Environmental advantages

Yet another important advantage associated with telecommuting and flexible working is their benefits for the environment. More and more organizations in Europe are aware of the impact that their operations are having on the environment and want to reduce this impact.

The benefits generated by telecommuting and flexible working are especially substantial when it comes to commuting between home and workplace. When employees work at home one out of five days a week, the number of kilometres they commute is cut by 20%. Offices are also used more efficiently so less heating is required. Some of this benefit, however, is cancelled out because the employees working at home will turn up their heating there.

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