As of this writing, 2.8% of the workforce in America telecommutes at least half of the time. While 50% of the workforce holds jobs that are compatible with partial telework, only 20-25% of employees are utilizing this option, whether because of personal preference or employer restrictions. There are many economic and environmental factors affected by working from home. This blog will cover the pros of telecommuting and next month’s blog will cover the cons.
If everyone who can work from home did so for at least half of their work week, the US could reduce oil imports by over 50%, saving almost 300 million barrels of oil worth over $20 billion.
Telecommuting also reduces the amount of carbon emissions put into the environment, which would slow global warming. Additionally, money could be redirected from office infrastructure construction and repairs into other projects. Money and resources would be saved as digital documents take the place of paper and entire office buildings aren’t being heated and cooled.
Telecommuting can also help with everyone’s favorite morning activity: sitting in traffic. If traffic continues to grow at its current rate, in a few decades, every major city in America will experience daily traffic jams on par with those infamous to Los Angeles. If this happens, commuting will take even more time that it already does, keeping workers away from the “life” part of the “work/life balance.” Traffic jams waste billions of gallons of gas per year, contribute exponentially to greenhouse gases, and rob the U.S. economy of productivity.
Another traffic benefit that results from telecommuting would be a reduction in traffic-related deaths. Ten of thousands of people are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year. Working from home at least part time would save 1,500 lives, prevent almost 95,000 traffic-related injuries and deaths, and save over $11 billion a year in related costs .
Additionally, with roads being used less, they would last longer. With fewer repairs needed, that money and the workforce that maintains the roads could focus on other infrastructure issues.
In my opinion, the benefits of telecommuting far outweigh the disadvantages. Check out next month’s blog to form your own opinion.
Brandi-Ann Moore, PEI