Calculate your savings from telecommuting

Telecommuting resource Undress for Success offers a free tool for predicting savings from a telework program

There's a nifty new tool available for companies contemplating implementing or expanding a telework program. (For the sake of full disclosure, I'll say upfront that I'm currently wearing my PJs, because I'm not just an advocate of telecommuting but also a practitioner.)

This tool is dubbed the Telework Savings Calculator, and it's available at the Undress for Success Web site. Said site offers a wealth of information about telecommuting, both for employees and companies.

[ Learn more about the benefits of telecommuting. | Cisco offers a "remote office in a box" to help users keep securely connected to the workplace. ]

The calculator itself draws on recently released U.S. Census American Community Survey figures and data from over a dozens of studies to quantify what every city, county, region, Congressional District, and state in the United States could save through telecommuting or work-from-home programs. You can also input data specific to your organization to see what benefits telecommuting might yield, not only for the company and individual workers, but also the environment (e.g. it calculates the potential reduction in greenhouses gasses that would from fewer people on the road).

I'm particularly impressed by the level of granularity this calculator offers: It takes into account the average distance employees must travel to work; the cost of electricity based on region; the number of offices that telecommuting program eliminates; and the amount of money employees might spend on things like lunch and day care.

According to Underdress for Success research:

Currently less than six million Americans consider home their regular workplace -- more than half of them are self-employed. ...[A]nother 33 million people hold jobs that are telework-compatible and eager to work from home. If they did so just half of the time (roughly the national average for those who already do), businesses could improve their bottom line by over $7,900 per new telecommuter per year—the result of lower real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover costs together with increased employee productivity."

Undress for Success also points to some of the benefits various organizations have reaped by offering telecommuting programs. For example, Sun saves $70 million a year in real estate alone. Dow Chemical saved a third of its non-real estate costs through telework. Additionally, Best Buy, British Telecom, JD Edwards, and American Express show home-based employees to be 20 to 40 percent more productive than their office counterparts.

[ Learn more about how much Sun and its employees save thanks to the company's telework program. ]

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.