By Chuck Mai, AAA
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the most effective and easiest way to save gasoline is just to not drive. Like to and from work. But if mass transit or carpooling aren’t options, you might want to investigate working from home.
If more and more of us telecommute, rush hours could someday be as old-fashioned as carbon paper.
But does productivity suffer when a company lets employees telecommute?
A project undertaken by Pennsylvania State University a few years ago looked at 46 studies on telecommuting and came up with some surprising results. In short, telecommuting works. Specifically, PSU reports that:
• Employees have a greater sense of control over their work environment when telecommuting.
• Telecommuting is good for the family, reducing conflicts between work and family; but if the employee works from home three or more day per week, that tends to have a detrimental effect on workplace relationships.
• Mid-level and top management needs to buy-in to the idea and make adjustments to accommodate telecommuting.
• Managers’ ratings of the efficiency of telecommuting employees rose, based on this study, meaning productivity was enhanced.
• Employees were happier when allowed to work from home.
The PSU study also found that telecommuting employees are less likely to quit.
And it’s likely there are fewer distractions at home than in an office.
There are downsides, such as the need possibly for additional equipment, such a secured laptop and additional phone or fax lines. And employees who telecommute need to possess high levels of self-discipline and be self-motivated.
Plus, you’ll have fewer schmoozing opportunities – chances to engage in hallway or office conversations with superiors that some may feel essential to ultimately obtaining a promotion. Then again, you may be spared office politics and episodes of office drama.
I drive 25 minutes each way to and from work and while it’s not a bad drive, I could just as easily do what I do at home rather than in an office. Plus, on my lunch hour, I could get some work done out in the yard.
Now, I just need to sell my wife on the idea.