Working from Home - Productively, Cheaply and Eco-Friendly By infomaniacminer firstname.lastname@example.org I have the privilege of working from home most of the time. Here are my thoughts on it. Corporations are continually looking for ways to reduce cost and increase productivity and the recent push has bee to send work offshore. My counter to that is that the work doesn’t necessarily have to be outsourced over seas, it can be outsourced locally by sending employees to their homes. I have had the opportunity over the past three years to learn and understand the new workforce model that allows, which is working from home. My productivity has increased since working from home. No more long commutes, no more constant interruptions from co-workers or office politics. No more wasted time wandering the halls of building on the way to a meeting. By 7:00 am I am sitting in my office working while my peers are fighting the morning doldrums and rush hour traffic. I can crank out work without interruptions and without having to multitask, which are both proven productivity drains. My salary might be higher than my peers in other countries, but the total cost of ownership is low. I pay my own cable bill, phone bill and most importantly there is no real estate cost. Labor and land are the two largest costs for a business. Both increase over time. The cost of other company resources (computers, vehicles, etc…) can be controlled and reduced over time. Not labor and especially not real estate. To cut labor cost, companies have moved overseas. The issue there is that these companies are taking a nose dive in customer service and product quality. Also, an issue with this approach is overseas the cost of labor is flattening out and catching up with costs of U.S. labor. Many resources in China and India have already caught their U.S. peers in terms of cost. The next logical step is to look elsewhere in other countries. The same trend will reveal itself in those countries as well. Eventually, the labor force cost will flat line and the true difference between a company's service offerings will be customer service. One other cost of labor that you can’t put a price on is actual experience in the local business. Most off-shore resources have never stepped into a U.S. based business. If for example, the person over seas is working on an IT system that supports a U.S. based business, their understanding of a system’s design and functionality is fundamentally flawed because he/she hasn’t ever actually participated in the business model. It makes a different if you are designed a retail system if you have either shopped or worked in a store that the system could potentially be used in. Knowing how to
code is not the same thing as knowing how to develop a system that works properly, efficiently and with the customer in mind. In the history of the world, the cost of real estate has always risen. In the U.S., the cost continues to sky rocket. Companies continue to move out towards open areas of real estate to find cheaper land. The problem is that there is a huge cost to move and the areas of development are become scarce. A company might find a cheaper per square foot in a far reaching suburb, but the cost to move resources and equipment is very high. Also, once a large contention of larger companies move, then the local neighborhoods, small businesses and quality of life suffers in the area left behind. There is a growing trend in major cities to revitalize down town areas, which means the companies that have slowly crept out towards the suburbs are about to once again, pay the cost to move and buy premium land within the city limits. The easiest and most logical way to reduce this cost is to reduce the amount of real estate required to do business. If you don’t need your customers to walk in to your place of business, then there is no reason to have a large office of employees. Working remotely from home cuts this cost. Company productivity and synergy will increase over time. There is a certain level of anxiety at company sponsored events such as happy hours and weekend activities. The reason is that the employee has already spent a full day at the office and has other responsibilities and desires at home. It is much easier to meet a team periodically for social activities if an employee hasn’t already spent 60 hours at work with these same employees and those same 60 hours away from home. The participation at these events will increase and the time spent there will be much more fulfilling and enjoyable. Once cost is factored out, the question clients and customers will ask is which company can I rely on to deliver the same service but only better? The world is going green… Multi-national companies have a huge global footprint. The affect these people have on the environment is substantial. Working from home and cutting a commute, whether it is by car, train or some other transportation is substantial. It is also a key selling point as far as benefits. A large population of the labor force would be willing to take less pay to stay at home. The reason is the quality of life with their family. More time at home and in their immediate neighborhood builds stronger relationships. A stronger family pays dividends for a company. Less stress at home means healthier employees (both physically and mentally) and leads to proficiency gains. Pay reduction is made up in quality of life and in reduced cost to the employee. Reduced transportation cost and meals away from home provide substantial savings to an employee. Anther significant cost to the employer is clothing. I’ve had the same three pair of slacks and two pair of dress
shoes for years now. You would be amazed at how productive an employee working comfortably in cheap flip flops and shorts can be compared to someone wearing slacks or jeans commuting to work in the hot summer months. A couple of other eco-friendly cost reductions are the huge amounts of energy used to heat and cool commercial office buildings and all the material and supplies used to build commercial offices. These are benefits I could think of in 15-20 minutes. I’ll update this document as I think of more.