• 06.26.09

Cisco Says Telecommuting Saves Money, and the World

Good news for homebodies: A Cisco survey of 2,000 people worldwide has revealed that employees who telecommute experience higher rates of productivity, work-life flexibility, and overall satisfaction. As if that isn’t enough, the survey also showed that telecommuting saves the company money and drastically reduces carbon dioxide emissions.


According to Rob Rolfsen, Cisco’s director of process, governance and sustainability, the survey was inspired by a British study that claimed working from home was worse from an environmental perspective than going into the office. “They made the untrue assumption that you turn everything off in the house when you leave,” Rolfson said. So Cisco decided to find out the truth about teleworking.


Cisco’s workforce telecommutes an average of two dates a week, but many workers surveyed said they would prefer to work from home three days a week. That’s not surprising when you look at other results from the survey–75% of respondents said their work was more timely when telecommuting, 83% said their ability to communicate with co-workers was the same or better than in the office, and 67% claimed that the overall quality of their work improved. The vast majority of respondents (91%) said telecommuting was important to their overall job satisfaction.

But telecommuting doesn’t just help employees. It also helps the company’s bottom line, saving Cisco approximately $277 million each year in time and productivity costs. And then, of course, are the obvious environmental benefits of not driving or taking public transportation to work. In 2007 alone, Cisco employees stopped 47,320 metric tons of greenhouse gases from being released. Workers also saved $10.3 million in fuel costs each year from telecommuting.

It’s true that Cisco has self-serving interests in publishing its survey–the company shills products like Cisco Virtual Office–but Cisco isn’t the only organization to recognize the benefits of telecommuting. An internal survey at Sun Microsystems in 2008 showed that telecommuting workers gave back 60% of the time they would have spent commuting to the company. The company’s telecommuting program also cut carbon emissions by 29,000 metric tons and saved Sun almost $68 million. A survey last year from Dice Holdings even showed that over a third of U.S. technology workers would take up to a 10 percent pay cut if they could work from home. Because really, who doesn’t like working in their pajamas?


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.