Telework New Zealand

Telework strategies that benefit employers, employees and society: profiting from flexibility

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The benefits of telework

Being prepared for the future through telework offers many benefits but sensitive and appropriate implementation is essential if they are to be achieved. 

Truly successful projects benefit Employers, Governments, Individuals and Communities...


Employer benefits

Even if only some staff can telework, an enterprise can still benefit: Aetna Health in the US gained US$6 million in one year with only 5% of its staff teleworking. Your benefits will differ but Telework New Zealand has developed cost-benefit analyses for many proposed telework programmes. (For more information and a selection of case studies and web site references that support the benefits listed on this page, visit our corporate solutions pages.)

The benefits you can expect include:

  • Productivity: managers have reported that their staff are between 8% and 40% more productive. Teleworkers do more, and better, work - in general.  (And, according to the C Grantham Institute for Study of Distributed Work, you can get $2 of improved productivity for every $1 spent on equipment.) 

  • Bell Atlantic Corporation cited that 25 hours spent working at home is the equivalent of 40 office hours.

  • A British Telecom Study reported by the Gartner Group indicated that the average telecommuter works 11% more hours than an office counterpart. They also found that reduced costs for office space and other overhead items save employers an additional amount equal to 17% of annual salary costs.

  • Recruitment and retention: being able to offer flexibility can reduce staff turnover by up to 20%. With staff replacement costing 75% or more of salary, this is a significant saving, even before training and retention costs are considered.  (Some observers have calculated that the cost of turnover and replacing staff is as high as 250% of salary.) 

  • Space saving: the amount of space you save will depend on many things but savings of up to 80% have been reported as a direct result of telework.  Even a 10% saving in space could be the difference between profit and loss.

  • Absenteeism: absent staff cost up to $400 a day (Australian Post) but telework can reduce absenteeism by as much as 80%.

  • Morale: improvements of 75% have been reported, across the whole company.

  • Becoming 'Carbon Neutral': Controlling our business' emissions can have many benefits.  They include practicing environmental responsibility, creating marketing opportunities, adding value to products and services, addressing concerns expressed by customers, and responding to supply chain requirements.  Reducing the emissions of a company's commuting employees is an important part of this.  More information is available at

  • Service: clients and customers report quicker response and better service.

  • Saving money: heating, air-conditioning, car parks, lighting -- all these costs, and more, will drop as staff take up telework.

The tangible savings alone may be enough to justify considering a telework programme. But there are many more benefits:

  • With staff able to start their working day without first commuting to the office, clients and customers will experience improved contact and response times leading to large improvements in client retention and value.

  • With the spread of telework, new markets and services can be promoted. Enterprises can also take advantage of time zones and improve their service to overseas markets.

  • With flexible work arrangements and locations, enterprises are able to react to new environments, respond to changing staff requirements, and support new tasks -– without having to reinvent the wheel.

  • With better response times, better service, lower costs, and happier, more motivated staff who have long experience with the company, enterprises are better able to compete in rapidly changing markets. Such a competitive edge would be hard to gain in any other way.

  • The company that implements telework can claim great rewards in the ‘corporate citizenship’ stakes. The company will be ‘doing its bit' to cut traffic or reduce power consumption. It will be ‘demonstrating mastery of the new technologies’. It will be seen as a ‘family-friendly employer’. Many other slants could be put on the telework programme.  It only takes a bit of imagination …

Telework really is a smarter way to do business. To find out how your company could benefit, contact us directly for a no-obligation evaluation.


Government benefits

  • Telework is a critical component of a truly sustainable economy. In a US Government trial in Puget Sound, telework was shown to reduce net energy consumption by 10%. No other initiative comes close to this.

  • Telework eliminates many contemporary problems at source. Traffic is only one example. (A Washington Post article published in 2004 cites Laurie Schintler, a George Mason University assistant professor, who estimates traffic delays in the Washington, D.C. region drop 10% for every 3% of commuters who work from home.)  Infrastructure and service delivery costs, urban drift, and collapsing urban and city environments are also good examples.

  • Telework increases productivity. It increases the possible contribution of every citizen to the local and national economy. It decreases the costs associated with government. It enhances the ability of citizens to achieve their own objectives.

  • Most government organisations are employers in their own right and could gain all the benefits that other employers gain.

  • Some telework strategies work directly to alleviate the symptoms and causes of the 'digital divide'.

  • Telework saves money. Service delivery is more economic, infrastructure costs are reduced, and productivity is increased.

  • Telework can also improve flexibility. Physical structures and traditional organisations are cumbersome and hard to change. Organisations based on location-independent concepts are far more flexible and adaptable in our rapidly changing world.

  • A range of telework-inspired ICT development initiatives can be deployed to achieve fundamental improvements in the sustainability of remote communities, solving many potential problems.

  • With more flexible response, more productive enterprises, and the ability of all individuals to contribute, the region or nation becomes more competitive and attracts more employment and development.


Individual Benefits

  • Productivity - over 70% of teleworkers claim they are significantly more productive. That means they do more in less time - saving time or earning more in the same time.

  • Time savings - If you didn't have to commute every day would you use the time you saved for more work? More family time? More sleep? It's yours to play with.

  • Cost savings - Once you add up vehicle fuel and maintenance, lunches and work clothes, eating out because you didn't have time to cook a proper meal, and all the other costs of traditional work, you could save a lot of money by teleworking.

  • Better health - 'Sick' buildings, traffic accidents, stress, and more all mean that commuting and traditional work should carry a health warning.

  • Home and family - This is so obvious that it's almost not worth making a point of. For many people, spending more time with the family or caring for dependent relatives is the major reason for teleworking. It's an important benefit.

  • Taking control - Rather than continually having to jump to the demands of the traditional work place, the teleworker can take control, not only over when and where work is performed but also over the myriad other details of modern life (like arranging the plumber, getting the car serviced, avoiding the traffic at holiday weekends, and taking children to the doctor).

  • Better parks and urban environments - Once telework catches on, there'll be more people in the suburbs meaning more demand for green spaces. And with lower demand for inner-city real estate, we could preserve our historic landmarks and relieve pressure on inner city parking and parks. Downtown areas could become attractive again.

  • Improved rural and suburban amenities - More people, from a broader demographic group, working in your area could mean better bus services and changes to local retail facilities. The post-office, doctor, bank, or petrol station might be less likely to close up and move somewhere else. The community comes alive.

  • Better security - While you work at home, you can keep an eye on your neighbour's house -- and they could return the favour. Neighbourhood watch takes on a whole new meaning.

  • Flexibility - Showing visitors around, coping with a new baby, handling illness or injury, even coping with likely or actual redundancy - telework can make it all easier.

But there will be thorns in your bed of roses:

  • Isolation - For many people, working on their own becomes lonely. Teleworking on only some days a week or working in a telecentre can help solve this problem.  There are other solutions as well, but the first step is to recognise the potential for loneliness early.

  • Slower connections - Residential and rural areas do not generally get the kind of technology support and services that inner city offices do - and they can be expensive as well. If your chosen work requires high bandwidth, think carefully about whether a home office is right for you. Perhaps a local telecentre could help.

  • Distractions - Whether it's a neighbour, a spouse, a child, the lawn-mowing, the laundry, the TV or the fridge, there will be distractions in the home office. How you handle them is up to you but the first step is to recognise that they could wipe out all your productivity gains.

There are two things that telework is NOT:

  • Telework is not a cheap and easy form of child-care. If you have young children, you really ought to plan for child-care at the times you have to work.

  • Telework is not a good excuse to take it easy -- to play golf all day instead of work. You still have to do the work. If you don't, your experience of telework will be a disaster.


Community benefits

  • Telework is a critical component in any attempt to build a truly sustainable local economy. Not only is it environmentally sound but it enhances local productivity and the earnings of all residents.

  • With less traffic on the road, less smog in the air, and lower demands for urban office space, existing green spaces and heritage buildings can be preserved. The value of existing real estate will increase and those who still travel to the CBD will find a more attractive office environment.

  • Telework eliminates many contemporary problems at source.  Infrastructure and service delivery costs in rural settings, population loss through urban drift, and collapsing local employment are good examples of problems telework approaches can counter.

  • Telework increases national productivity. It increases the possible contribution of citizens to the local economy and decreases the costs of dependency.

  • Telecentre developments work directly to alleviate the symptoms and causes of the 'digital divide'. They facilitate access to information and services, improving education and training, and supporting new employment opportunities.

  • Telework saves money. Service delivery is more economic, and infrastructure costs are reduced.

  • With all individuals able to contribute, the community becomes more competitive and attracts more employment and development.

  • Telework approaches also contribute directly to the viability and vitality of traditional communities. With more people staying in rural areas, regional services (restaurants, shopping, post offices, banks, petrol stations, hospitals, etc.) will also stay, community spirit is provided with a stronger base, policing becomes cheaper, and many other benefits can flow.

  • It goes without saying that if we can keep residents in a rural community, the community as a whole is better off. A single family contributes over $13,000 to the local economy each year. Losing this revenue could be the difference between survival and collapse for many communities. Telework provides a framework within which we can bring the world to the community: individuals will no longer have to leave to take their place in the world.


Employers have choices:

You could continue to spend on expensive office and car parking space, pay more to retain staff and miss out on productivity gains of up to 40% OR you could make telework a normal work option for your employees -- and gain up to $300,000 per annum, per 100 staff.

You could just accept that change will happen, that your business plans will always be out of date and that the next natural or unnatural disaster will severely damage your profitability OR you could ensure that flexibility is built into everything you do -- that you bend and not break in the inevitable "winds of change".

And you could get far more benefit from your existing family-friendly or flexible workplace programmes.



Government has choices:

You could continue trying to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution by accommodating the problems OR you could actively reduce and even eliminate the causes.

You could spend hundreds of millions on public transport or roading infrastructure that won't deliver benefits for years and will make the problem worse OR you could reduce the demand for such infrastructure by up to 10%, within 12 months.

You could continue to suffer the problems of inequitable development and urban drift OR you could take steps to address the 'digital divide' and provide meaningful education and employment options in 'remote' areas.

And you could actively support the growth of New Zealand as a true 'knowledge economy'.



Individuals have choices:

You could continue to commute every day, spending hours sitting in traffic, not seeing your home or family in daylight, and coping with the office's distractions OR you could do more work and save time by working at or near your home a day or two every week, or an hour or two every day.

You could continue to pay high fuel costs, buy office suits and pay for city lunches and dinners OR you could save time and money and get more benefit from your investment in your home.

And you could enjoy a balanced, productive and satisfying life.



Communities have choices:

You could continue to lose people, services and jobs OR you could actively create new opportunities for your residents.

You could continue to suffer from not having access to the benefits available elsewhere in the country OR you could develop smart, practical approaches to providing information and communication technology for the whole community.

And you could strengthen the networks and capabilities of the whole community by identifying and building on the strengths and resources you already have.


Bevis England, Telework New Zealand,  Phone: +64-9-817 8024 or +64-27-494 0700  Skype: bevis.england

Last page update: Tuesday, 28 August 2012.  Please note that copyright on all content is retained by Bevis England.  Information may not be on-sold or used as part of any payable service or activity. Neither can it be transcribed, printed or reproduced in any form, in full or in part, without inclusion of this note. If you would like to be kept in touch, or if you have specific questions, feedback or comments please contact us.