Times are tough and companies are tightening their belts. Many employees haven’t seen merit increases for quite some time. In fact, some have even seen pay cuts. It’s been proven employees are not motivated by money alone. Salary increases do not always equate to a more engaged staff of employees. However, salary does play a part in retention. Research shows that employees will seek employment from a competitor if their salary offering is 10% more for a comparable job to their current employment. To retain workers, companies should conduct regular reviews of the salaries offered and make adjustments accordingly. But, for companies not in a fiscal position to increase workers’ paychecks, offering telecommuting options just may cushion the blow of an employee’s pay cut or lack of a raise enough to retain them.
Let’s look at the economics of telecommuting. I’ll volunteer myself as an example. Gas prices in Atlanta are currently $2.46/gallon for midgrade gas. I’m unable to afford to live in the city of Atlanta and must commute approximately 30.4 miles (according to Google Maps) both ways to work every day. Automotive.com estimates that my car gets about 23 miles per gallon when driving on both the highway and city streets. Therefore, I spend $3.25 per day commuting to TMP Worldwide’s Atlanta office. That adds up to a total of $845 spent on gas alone for commuting to the office per year.
Of course, every employee’s situation is different. Some employees would enjoy an increased savings by eliminating expensive parking space payment. Not all employees drive to work; many workers in urban areas take public transportation. Telecommuting still offers these employees a cost savings. Employees who walk to work still enjoy a cost savings by being able to write off a percentage of their power and internet bills as a home office expense on their taxes.
For many people, working from home means that they need one fewer car for their household. I would fall into this category because my husband works out of the house. If we were to become a household with only one car instead of two, we would save $6,036 annually.
Working from home is becoming more and more appealing with the increased desire for flexibility from the work force. This is in part because of the increasing Gen Y employment group. Employees appreciate that telecommuting allows them to better achieve a work/life balance. Employees with children are better able to meet family needs. Workers with a desire to travel are able to do so after working hours. Then, they can spend the week working from a location of their choice (hopefully tropical) without needing to request vacation time. If staff members are feeling a little under the weather, telecommuting enables them to sip chicken noodle soup from the comfort of their sofa while they check their email, eliminating the need for them to take a sick day. My fellow tree huggers appreciate that they can reduce their carbon footprint. But one factor remains a benefit for all employees: cost savings.