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Why Telecommuting Will Answer Your (And Your Boss's) Financial Woes

Every year, nearly $11 billion is lost due to employee turnover. While there are undoubtedly numerous contributing factors to widespread attrition, a lack of employee loyalty may often be to blame. These days, many of those in the workforce are looking for employers who offer flexibility; in our society, workers really do want to have it all, an idea that often includes having both a family and a successful career.

Many have found that teleworking positions manage to provide both flexibility and stability, the holy grail of employment, especially for working parents or millennials juggling numerous side hustles. Not only is telework just generally more appealing for busy individuals who don't want to make a trek into the office, but Forbes reports that employees can save a ton of cash by telecommuting. By not having to spend money on gas or public transportation, work apparel, and food while at the office, employees could end up with an extra $4,000 in savings.

But telecommuting jobs are pretty hard to come by. According to a recent report published by Employee Benefit News, only 7% of U.S. employers allow their workers to telecommute. However, that number has the potential to increase in the near future -- that is, if businesses are smart. The "2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce" report conducted by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs found that telecommuting doesn't just benefit employees: it can save employers a staggering amount of money, too.

According to recent studies, nearly six out of 10 employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit of telecommuting. But the financial value of this practice seems to be vastly underestimated. The telecommuting report estimates that if 3.9 million current U.S. commuters were to have positions that allowed them to commute for even half of the time, productivity would increase by 15%. Not only that, but costs attributed to absenteeism would decrease by 31%, with turnover costs going down by 10%. In all, the move would save employers a collective $41.9 billion every year. And if 62 million employees were to telecommute, that number would reach $689 billion annually.

The good news is that since 2005, telecommuting has grown by 115% -- that's 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce. As of two years ago, according to U.S. census data, there were nearly 4 million people in the U.S. who worked remotely.

And although remote work may not be a reality for certain positions, Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist for FlexJobs, noted to Forbes, "The people who crunched the numbers on this report found that 56% of U.S. employees have jobs that are telecommute compatible."

Making the switch to telecommuting could be a real win/win for both employers and employees, but it could be a real coup for climate change, too. The report states that the impact of telecommuting would be equal to taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for one year.

So whether you're concerned about going green or keeping more of it in your pocket, teleworking might very well be a more viable solution for more Americans in the near future.

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