Telecommuting Could Save Billions, Authors Say

Fewer than 6 million Americans work regularly from home and another 33 million could, and would like to, a new study finds.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

March 12, 2009

1 Min Read

Americans could collectively save more than $500 billion from telecommuting, according to an analysis released this week.

Telecommuting advocates and authors Kate Lister and Tom Harnish released results of recent research Tuesday. They reported that American companies could add more than $260 billion annually to their bottom lines and consumers could save $228 billion if eligible employees worked from home. The government could save another $14 billion, according to the pair, who wrote Undress For Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money At Home.

The authors said that fewer than 6 million Americans work regularly from home and more than half of them are self-employed. Using U.S. Census figures and data from several other studies, they found that another 33 million Americans could, and would like to, work from home.

If eligible workers stayed home, businesses could save more nearly $8,000 annually for each telecommuter, the researchers found. The savings come from lower real estate and electricity costs as well as increased attendance and employee productivity.

The authors reported that Sun Microsystems saves $70 million annually on real estate thanks to telecommuting initiatives, while Dow Chemical cut costs other than real estate by one-third by promoting telecommuting initiatives.

Home-based workers from Best Buy, JD Edwards, and American Express are 20% to 40% more productive than employees who travel to work, according to the research.

The authors, who published their book this month, offer a telecommuting calculator on the Web site. The free tool allows visitors to find estimates on savings from telecommuting, based on local, state, regional, and national figures.

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