Could Working From Virtual Offices Save the World?

NEW YORK—I saw a spiffy infographic on the benefits of virtual offices. The infographic is titled, “The Perks of Working From Home.” CarInsurance.org put together the infographic, which draws on data from various sources. I’ll try to break it down for you in a few nutshells:

One in 10 U.S. workers work from a home-based virtual office at least once a week. This trend has gained popularity. From 2005 to 2012, the U.S. workforce grew just 3 percent. But the number of regular telecommuters grew 66 percent.

What would change if they all worked from home just 50 percent of the time? Cutting the commute would help the environment. Eighty-six percent of Americans report they drive to work. The oil saved equals one-third of America’s yearly Persian Gulf imports. And the greenhouse gas reduction is the equivalent of the entire New York State workforce never commuting again.

And with an average commute time of 25.1 minutes, a typical worker would save nearly 109 hours per year of commute time by working from a virtual office.

That extra time out of the car is a good thing. An average commuter spends $1,500 a year on gasoline. A half-time virtual office user could save $750. Working from a virtual office could save money on car insurance, too. In California, commuters pay 8.4 percent more in car insurance than non-commuters.

And healthwise, people who commute more typically have greater BMIs, waist circumferences, blood pressure, and levels of stress. Employees working from a virtual office at home are happier. Eight in 10 employees who telecommute part-time feel they have a good work-life balance.

When switching from working in an office to working at home, the average employee says their stress level decreased by 25 percent. Three in four say they eat healthier when working from home. A happy employee is a productive employee. Working from a virtual office at home increases productivity an average of 10 percent to 20 percent.

A little telecommuting could keep everyone  happier, healthier and more efficient.


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