One of the hottest trends in tech these days has to do with “going green.” The move is definitely on when it comes to reducing an employee’s need to commute or travel for business through applications such as conferencing and the ability — and corporate buy-in — to let increasing numbers of employees work from home.
FreedomVOICE Systems, the Encinitas, CA (News - Alert)-based provider of hosted PBX services sees their customers increasingly taking advantage of their FreedomIQ solution to play their part in the green movement.
According to FreedomVOICE Systems company officials, “Taking advantage of hosted PBX (News - Alert) systems, such as our FreedomIQ offering is one way that businesses are able to “go green.” Businesses are increasingly willing to let their employees work from home, so they do not contribute to pollution by driving back and forth to the office, and not having to supply so much air conditioning at work, etc... One of the ways that Freedom IQ is helping businesses go green is by enabling employees to work remotely.”
And it’s easy to set up an employee to work remotely. “Employees can simply take a VoIP phone home and plug it in to their Internet connection and work from home,” representatives said.
Of course employers still have some concerns about letting workers out of their sight. Enabling business owners to monitor their employees and effectively manage them remotely is critical.
According to company officials, “Businesses want to allow their employees to work from home, but at the same time they can’t do that unless they can fully see what’s going on and fully manage and understand what their employees are doing from their home office. With FreedomIQ, we’ve built in special management tools that allow business owners to see exactly when an employee is logged into his phone, exactly how many inbound calls he is taking, how long those calls are lasting, how many outgoing calls he is making, and so on. Using our call record feature, you can monitor the actual recordings of all the calls that the employee is making.”
“We also have a lot of online reports that give you the ability to let your employees work from home, but still see exactly what’s going on,” they added.
FreedomVOICE also discussed an interesting survey that they conducted on Monster.com. “We recently ran a study on Monster, where we submitted an ad for a customer service position, offering the ability to work from home, and monitored how many respondents we got and how qualified they were. We also submitted another ad for the same position, only we stated that this job required employees to come into an office.
“We found we got 10x more applicants for the position that allowed employees to work from home, rather than the position that required them to come into the office. We found we had a better selection; we had many more people to choose from, and we also found that they were much more qualified. And, they were asking for less money! We feel that had a lot to do with the fact that the applicants knew that they would be working from home, so they weren’t expecting as much pay.
“The other aspect is that we’re in San Diego, which is considered an expensive place to live. We found we received a lot of respondents from all over the United States, so you didn’t have to pay as much for someone working in the Midwest, say as you would have to pay for someone living in San Diego.”
A recent white paper from FreedomVOICE entitled Growing A Small Business — The Benefits of Hosted PBX & Telecommuting discusses the many benefits of deploying a virtual office solution, including the green benefits such a solution delivers.
Below are several excerpts from the white paper that are relevant to the discussion of going green:
A report by the Environmental Defense Fund estimates the average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 pages of printed paper each year. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says this pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water for industrial purposes and the third largest industrial polluter in terms of greenhouse gases. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that personal motor vehicles account for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions – much of which is spent crawling along in bumper-to-bumper traffic to and from the office. Small businesses and the environment both stand to benefit by eliminating dependency on a premises PBX and finding an alternative to a highly-centralized workforce.
By telecommuting, an employee contributes little to no office expense or wasted resources. Less office space is required, meaning lower land consumption and energy savings in lighting, heating, or cooling an office. Telecommuting cuts down on the number of redundant workstations, printers, copiers, and fax machines that need to be purchased, powered, and maintained. The General Service Administration estimates a single telecommuter can save a business as much as $5,000 per year in reduced office operation costs alone.
Telecommuting is a practice that promotes environmental health. Remote workers consume considerably less printed paper and expensive toner cartridges than their office-dwelling counterparts, since most office memos or typed documents are necessarily transmitted electronically instead of in hard copy. By taking cars off of the road, telecommuting is also a powerful way to ease traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stave off global warming. According to a study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association, telecommuters reduce gas consumption by 840 million gallons per year, resulting in the prevention of 14 million tons of CO2 emissions.
To view the full version of the FreedomVOICE Whitepaper, Growing A Small Business — The Benefits of Hosted PBX & Telecommuting, click here.
Greg Galitzine (News - Alert) is editorial director of TMCnet. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
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