Before Tony Vesci started telecommuting four days a week, he drove almost 90 miles per day to get to and from his job at Atlantic Fasteners in West Springfield, Mass. “It was like I was working 10 hour days,” he said.
The trip left him feeling overstressed and overtired. It also cost him a lot of money – between $150 and $200 a week when gas prices were at their peak.
So, when Vesci was offered the opportunity to telecommute a few days a week, he happily accepted. “I started off telecommuting two days a week,” he said. “Then it was three days a week and now I work at home four days a week.”
“Customers call my office number as usual and it rings directly into my home,” he said. “It’s unbeknownst to them where I’m working.”
For the past five years, Atlantic Fasteners has allowed some of its customer service employees the opportunity to telecommute two to four days per week. The option originated as a way to accommodate the company’s growth, but has turned into a mutually beneficial working arrangement for Atlantic Fasteners and its employees. “We had limited space and no place to expand,” Atlantic President Tony Peterson said.
But while many business owners are hesitant to offer telecommuting to its employees, Peterson has found it to be a welcomed addition to the workplace. “I’m a firm believer that happy employees make for happy customers,” he said. “Plus, happy employees are incredibly loyal.”
This belief is confirmed by Atlantic’s experiences with telecommuting and by a recent study at Stanford University which found that the performance of telecommuting professionals increased by 12 percent while employee attrition dropped by 50 percent. Overall job satisfaction also increased.
This increase in job performance is largely attributed to a reduction in sick days and an increase in overall productivity for at-home workers. “If I’m working on a big project, I can focus more easily,” said Diane McDonald, a sales and purchasing representative for Atlantic who telecommutes 2 days a week. “Even if people aren’t talking to me directly, the background noise of phones ringing or people talking can be distracting.”
Vesci agreed. “There are far fewer distractions working at home, he said. “There’s no background noise and I’m not being called away from my desk for meetings or questions. I’m also not getting up to talk to co-workers when I’m at home.”
Vesci has also found that the opportunity has further enhanced his loyalty to the company. “It’s a big perk and it definitely gives me more motivation,” he said. “They’re doing something for me, so it’s an incentive for me to contribute to the company as best I can.”