Telecommuting: Get a Clear Picture of Costs, Benefits, Requirements

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Telecommuting sounds like the perfect solution to what ails the modern, multi-tasking, traffic-logged work force. But a variety of factors - some technical, some managerial - continue to work against more widespread adoption of telecommuting, as our Carl Weinschenk discussed in a recent blog post.


Still, the numbers behind telecommuting can be pretty compelling. If your company is on the fence about adopting a more aggressive stance about letting your employees work remotely, you should definitely check out our Telecommuting Calculator, which is free to IT Business Edge members here in the IT Downloads library.


The Excel-based tool calculates possible costs savings in a model where employees work from home almost exclusively, with occasional in-office visits. The tool evaluates costs and benefits factors across four categories:


  • Physical facilities
  • Hardware and software
  • Communications services (assuming your company provides/reimburses for Internet connectivity)
  • Improved employee productivity


You can see the assumptions and data entry for technology expenses in the image below.



As you can see, the form is quite detailed. Among other costs, it anticipates the need for Network Access Control (NAC) technology, in addition to a VPN, to ensure that only authorized remote users can access key resources. Telecommuting is a lot bigger project than just making sure home workers can check their email.


After you input the more than 60 factors the tool addresses, the potential benefits of telecommuting are graphed out for you, as you can see in the image below.



Based on the pre-populated data in the form, having 25 employees telecommute can result in more than $10,000 in monthly savings. Of course, you might find the numbers to be different for your situation. In any case, it's useful to have a financial snapshot.


If you do decide to move forward with a telecommuting plan, be sure check out our Telecommuting IT Checklist. The exhaustive list covers pretty much any issue that IT might encounter while setting up a telecommuting user, including headsets and biometric authentication.