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By Jennifer Hutchison

Fall is here and the air is beginning to smell like firewood and pumpkin spices. With November comes the beginning of the holiday season, a time when families gather, presents are wrapped, and pies are baked, meaning one thing for most employees: balancing the demands of both the office and home. But thanks to the cloud, there’s an easier way to balance your time by working from home, from the nearest coffee shop, or even from the spare bedroom of your grandparent’s house.

Alternative working arrangements have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, allowing employees to skip the traffic-filled commute and employers to reduce the costs of a large workforce. Telecommuting is a huge commitment on both sides, requiring employees to be diligent and self-motivated while asking managers in turn to trust their employees and shift their management styles. Here’s six great reasons why having your employees work from home is a great idea.

Simply put – the savings!

Having teleworking employees means savings across the board for both the company and for the employees. With less workers “in-house”, companies can save about $11,000 per year. After all, office space doesn’t come cheap, and neither do the supplies. Then there’s the building’s heating and cooling costs to think of as well. But with a team that’s comprised of mostly telecommuters, the office suddenly has less coffee filters to buy, less space to rent, and less energy costs. On the employee side, there’s the potential to save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year. There’s less gas to purchase, not to mention less money potentially being spent on daily coffee runs, workplace attire, and even on eating out for lunch if the employees choose to eat at home.

Interested in finding out just how much the estimated savings would be for your own employees and your company? Check out this Telework Calculator from HP.

Greener Alternative

It should go without saying that working from home also offers businesses and employees a little “green” cred. As previously mentioned, one of the best advantages a telecommuter has is the fact that there is no commute! Not only is the employee’s gas budget decreased, but there are less pollutants being pushed into the atmosphere. In fact, the Telework Calculator from HP also can calculate the reduction in pollutants that a teleworking policy can affect. For example, a company that allows 5 employees to work from home for just one day out of the week can reduce the same employee’s greenhouse emissions by about 2,748 lbs. a year. In addition, the office now can cut back on buying paper supplies on because working with a telecommuter often means that there’s less printing going on. And less printing means less paper. Less paper means a greener environment. Can’t we can all do with a bit more green in our lives?

Better Communication

With all the different forms of communication available nowadays, keeping in touch isn’t a difficult thing to do. Whether it’s through email, IM, or online meeting software like  MeetingBurner or Google+ Hangouts, employees have a large amount of cloud-based options available to help them breach the great communication divide. In addition, collaborating through written mediums such as email allows employees time to gather their thoughts and review their words before firing off a response. Tempers saved, communication improved.

No More Distractions

No one can deny that each office has its own unique distractions. For some it’s the water cooler chatter and the occasional wandering employee, for others it’s overhearing business calls and rowdy office neighbors. Allowing an employee to work from the comfort of their own home helps them avoid the office distractions and focus on what they need to do in an environment that they find comfortable in. Yes, there are still distractions that exist at home, but for many employees, working from home is a privilege they’d like to keep and many will go above and beyond to continue to avoid the distractions that come with working in an office. Not to mention that employees who work from home are often more driven and focused than their in-office counterparts, work longer hours, and are notably more productive.

Healthier attitudes

We all strive to produce a healthy working environment for our employees. Stress is a killer in the workforce and something that is actively avoided by most employees. What better way to fight stress than by allowing employees the ability to work from home for a day? That one day can help take the edge of the work week for most employees, while also giving them a day to recharge their batteries for next week.

It’s also been said that companies with a teleworking plan in place often report higher numbers of job satisfaction as well, especially in the areas of health. In fact, A recent study showed that 25% of teleworks claim to have lower stress levels, 80% reported a better work/life balance, and 74% have claimed to eat healthier when working from home. Nutritious food and lower stress equals healthier employees.

Keep Calm and Keep Working

There’s also a very practical reason for wanting to pursue a telecommuting policy for your business: Natural disasters and other emergency work disrupters like power outages. Having telecommuters connected through the cloud and physically spread out through different areas means that no matter what happens, the work can continue. Your entire business won’t be out of commission in the case of a disruption, and all of your data won’t be in one place. All of this means that you’ll be able to recover much faster from any type of issue that occurs.

With the above reasons, it’s easy to see why having a few telecommuters is a pretty good idea. So long as you have the right technology and access to the best cloud apps available, working from home might possibly be the best idea to hit the office since the creation of the coffee machine. In fact, offering a telecommuting policy might be just the right move, allowing you to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and to offer your employees a nice perk that’ll help everyone out not just over the holidays, but in the long run as well.

The post Time to Stay Home: 6 Great Reasons to Celebrate Working From Home appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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