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About Telework

What is Telework?

Related Concepts

Benefits of Telework

Benefits for Employees

Benefits for Organizations

Benefits for the Community

Telework Q&A

Q&A for Employees

Q&A for Organizations


Different people find different benefits from telework. For some it is the autonomy, for others it is the time or money saved by not commuting. Some people value the occasional work day at home, but wouldn't want to work at home all the time. Other people want to work at home as much as possible. In general, telework has an empowering effect, increasing job satisfaction and morale. Below are some of the benefits mentioned most often by employees:

Schedule Flexibility
Work Focus
Saving Time
Saving Money
Less Stress
Fewer Sick Days
Possible Tax Benefits
Increased Employability
Increased Safety
Help the Planet

Schedule Flexibility: By the conclusion of the Telework Pilot Project, this benefit was rated higher than any other by participating employees. Teleworking gives employees greater flexibility to schedule doctor visits, parent-teacher days, and other important non-work tasks. It provides more opportunity to spend time with family and friends or attend events in the community.

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Work Focus: Teleworkers consistently report that complicated tasks, especially those that require concentration are easier to accomplish from home where there are fewer distractions.

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Saving Time: Average commute time in the US is about 25 minutes each way (higher in metro areas). Discounting time for vacations, holidays and other days off, a typical employee could save at least 40 hours a year by teleworking just one day a week. Of course, many of those who telework have much longer commutes - and greater motivation to recapture some of that time by teleworking.

This is the second highest-rated benefit among participants in the Telework Pilot Project. The average total commute time (to and from work combined)among participants is just over 2 hours, but this includes some with very long commutes involving ferry travel. For those who both live and work in Kitsap County (no ferry travel involved), the average total commute time is approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes.

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Saving Money: Teleworkers frequently cite savings for gas and car maintenance. It is difficult to calculate an average savings since vehicles vary with commuters and the price of gasoline fluctuates. However, even small savings accumulate over time; employees may also save on lunches, dry cleaning, parking, and other costs related to working at the central office. Some people may be able to get reduced auto insurance rates if the mileage reduction is significant.

In the Pilot Project, there were some teleworkers with significant savings because their employer allowed them to care for small children on telework days - something that not all employers will allow. The average participant in the project saved 1.43 gallons of gasoline each day they teleworked, which would be approximately 69 gallons a year if they teleworked one day a week. At $3.50 a gallon, that is $242 a year in savings; $276 a year at $4.00 a gallon.

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Less Stress: Teleworkers report that telework reduces stress. It may provide relief from the stress of the rush-hour commute, rushing to catch the bus or ferry, or trying to get home in time for a family commitment.

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Fewer Sick Days: There have been reports that teleworkers claim fewer sick days. Some speculate that this is because teleworkers have more flexible schedules and don't need to use a sick day for personal business. Employees who are able to telework can often work partial days from home when they aren't well enough to go to the office. Teleworking is also great when recuperating from illness or surgery.

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Possible Tax Benefits: A home office that is used only for work may qualify for a home/office tax deduction. However, there are numerous requirements and employees should study IRS regulations or contact the IRS or a tax professional for advice. Employees in states with a state income tax should also explore requirements for a home/office deduction on state taxes.

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Increased Employability: Being a skilled teleworker is an asset to employers. An experienced teleworker has a track record of being self-reliant and trustworthy. Many teleworkers are also more skilled at using remote technologies.

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Increased Safety: Your home is less likely to have a break-in when you are there, and people at home keep a neighborhood a little safer. Also, the less time you spend on the road, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident. There is a reason insurance rates are higher for people who rack up the miles.

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Help the Planet: Telework alone won't solve the environmental problem, but it is one more way to make a small difference, and small differences add up. Instead of buying a car that gets better gas mileage, just drive the one you have fewer miles. For example, if you drive 15,000 miles a year and your car gets 20 miles per gallon, you are using 750 gallons of gas. If you decrease the miles driven to 10,000 a year, you'll use 500 gallons. That's the equivalent of trading in a 20 mpg car for a 30 mpg car. Of course, you could get a car with better mileage and reduce your driving - that would really make a difference. Check out the links above, including the individual emissions calculator.

In the telework project, the average teleworker saved 27.73 lbs of CO2 for each day they teleworked.

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From the Study

What people like about telework is based on each individual's lifestyle. Here are some quotes from participants in the Telework Pilot Project:

"No commute. Get right to work in the morning and not have to stop to 'go to the office'. I am a morning person."

"I am home when my 11 year old returns from school and I am able to fix and eat dinner with my family."

"I am more relaxed at home and I can get out of my 'work' bubble more easily."

"The extra time from lack of interruptions on big projects has helped me meet deadlines early and be responsive to other staff."

"My wife also gets extra sleep (doesn't need to drive me to the early ferry) when I telework. And we are able to go to events together at the end of the day."


On the Web

IRS Information:

Claiming a home office deduction

Business use of your home

Emissions Reduction:

Individual Emissions Calculator

Telework and Co2

Interesting article about CO2 emissions and the American lifestyle: Americans Emit 20 Metric Tons of CO2

About the Telework Pilot Project

Site Map

Search only teleworktoolkit.com

This page was last updated on July 8, 2009