mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Telework: The Path to Riches?


Telework isn’t just convenient; it’s good for the bottom line too. An Australian accounting firm found that small businesses were more likely to increase their revenue if they allowed telework. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

According to the research small businesses whose employees worked remotely most or all of the time were 24 per cent more likely to have had a revenue rise in the past year. […]

Teleworkers are also more productive than their office-based counterparts. Research by Macquarie University into the rising trend of teleworking found that most employees work more intensely away from an office.

Telework leads to increased employee satisfaction, decreased emissions, a better work-life balance, higher productivity, and stronger communities. But the chief goal of any company is to make money, and this research suggests that telework can help with that as well.

The reasons to embrace this trend are mounting, and the opportunity costs of ignoring it are growing. Can businesses afford not to put telework policies in place?

[Telecommuting image courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
  • Luke Lea

    When the product is information then, yes, teleporting works fine, or at least can in principle.

    However in the actual world we live in most goods and services are either physical objects or else require physical proximity to deliver.

    What’s more, every household, neighborhood, local community, metropolitan area, county, state, country, and continental area must export an amount of goods and services, most of which are physical, equal in value to those it consumes. (The only exceptions are rich people who live off capital income, people in prison, and the poor and disabled, who depend at least partly on welfare payments whose value is in excess of the taxes they pay.)

    When you look around your house at all the stuff that you buy you can see right away that this means a lot of physical work — unless you happen to be one of the lucky few with above average cognitive abilities. It is an intellectual fallacy — or, should I say, the intellectual’s fallacy? — to think otherwise.

  • Andrew Allison

    I think the situation is more nuanced than presented. The report emphasizes small companies. There is a different level of commitment to the success of a company in small companies and large ones. While telework clearly works for employees who are dedicated to the success of the enterprise, the recent Yahoo! saga paints a different picture for large ones. FWIW, it appears to me that Ms Mayer is attempting to re-establish a team spirit which has been lost.

    • Clayton Holbrook

      In Yahoo!’s case there were teleworkers that some managers forgot even exisited. Is that a symptom of telework itself, or a sign of larger management and cultural issues? I say the later. Telework shouln’t be a scapegoat for much larger problems. Maybe once Ms Mayer circles the wagons a reinsitutues good working relationships, telework can be restablished for Yahoo! Imho, telework makes tons of sense for Yahoo! given the IT nature of the company.

  • SteveC

    I support telework, but this study seems to have found only correlation between telework and increased revenue, and we have to remember that correlation is not necessarily causation. Rather than telework causing increased revenue, it could simply be that more successful companies are more likely to allow telework.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service