Calculator – Research Approach

Telework Savings Calculator: Research Approach

We synthesized over 250 case studies, research papers, government reports, books, and anything we could put our eyeballs on that had to do with telecommuting and related topics. We didn’t come at this with any particular bias. It was what we learned in the research process that turned us in to advocates.

We interviewed the nation’s largest and smallest virtual employers and their employees, the telework advocates AND the naysayers, the top researchers, leaders of successful telework advocacy, and even venture capitalists who have invested in companies that use the remote work model.

One of the things we found missing in the research, was any real analysis of what companies, employees, and communities could save, in real dollars, through telecommuting. So we  set out to fix that.

Using the latest Census data, and assumptions from dozens of government and private sector sources, we developed a model to quantify what telecommuting could do for the economy, the environment, and society in general. It’s been used by company and community leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada and—because the numbers are so convincing—has been quoted in a wide variety of publications.

Telework Savings Calculator: The Assumptions

As skeptics at heart and our approach has been to base our assumptions on highly credible research and to err on the side of being too conservative, rather than too aggressive. A list of the primary sources behind the assumptions in our http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/research/calculator-2010/ is provided below.

A few are worth mentioning specifically because they tend to draw the most questions:

1)  Our standard model assumes half-time telecommuting— which is the national average for those who do on a regular basis. While that obviously doesn’t have the impact of full time telework, it does mitigate some of the employer and employee concerns about issues such as company culture and employee loneliness.

2) Regarding who can work from home, we assume 40% of the population hold jobs that are compatible.

That’s based on a very thorough study done by Mathews & Williams, a couple of PhD’s, who went through the Bureau of Labor (BLS) Statistics data and evaluated the jobs that met their criteria for telework compatibility. Only 4 categories of jobs made the cut: professional, technical support, administrative support and a fraction of sales jobs. Management level jobs, even within those categories, were not considered eligible.

Unfortunately, that study was done more than 5 years ago—ancient in terms of the current state of technology, so we feel strongly that the percentage of compatible jobs is a good bit higher.

3) For the amount that driving is reduced through telecommuting we turned to a respected study done by the Reason Foundation and settled on a 70% reduction for our half-time scenario instead of 100%-you can’t take your kids to school just on the days you go to the office.

4) Not everyone wants to, can, or should work from home. In our model, we assume 79% want to – that’s based on a study by WorldatWork and has been validated in other studies and in actual workplaces.

Telework Savings Calculator: The Sources

- American Community Survey
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Omnibus Household Survey
- 2005 Reason Foundation — The Quiet Success: Telecommuting’s Impact on Transportation and Beyond
- Colliers International 2008 Parking Study
- BLS Labor Review
- BLS Consumer Spending Report
- “The Internet and the New Energy Economy,” Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, Global Environment and Technology Foundation
- National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
- U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Household Electricity Reports
- National Highway Safety Administration “Traffic Safety Facts”
- Federal Highway Administration Traffic Safety Data
- Cushman & Wakefield MarketBeat
- Matthews and Williams “Telework Adoption and Energy Use in Building and Transport Sectors in the United States and Japan”
- U.S. General Administrative Services Telework Studies
- American Management Associations / AVAYA “Unleashing the Hidden Productivity of your Small Business”
- CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey
- TalentKeepers Employee Turnover Trends
- WorldatWork Member Survey: Attraction and Retention Practices
- CommuteSolutions.org

Telework Savings Calculator: The Variables

Over 50 customizable variables allow us to model unique situations. Using the http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/research/calculator-2010/ we’ve created custom models for the call center industry, the state of Hawaii, Prince Edward Island, and many others.

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