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Agile Work Savings Calculator™ – Research Approach

We have cataloged over 4,000 case studies, research papers, government reports, books, and anything we could put our eyeballs on that had to do with agile work and alternative workplace strategies such as telework, mobile work, flexible work, office hoteling, desk sharing, compressed workweeks, time shifting, etc.

It’s important to note that 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 agile work employers and their employees, the  advocates AND the naysayers, the top researchers, leaders of successful programs, and even venture capitalists who have invested in companies that use the agile 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 agile work and other strategies, 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 agile work could do for the economy, the environment, and society in general. It’s been used by hundreds of company and community leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada and – because the numbers are so convincing – has been cited in a wide variety of publications.

Workplace 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 Workplace Savings Calculator™ is provided below.

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

1)  Our standard remote work model assumes half-time remote work – which is roughly the national average for those who work remotely on a regular basis. It seems to represent the ‘sweet spot’ that mitigates the employer and employee concerns about issues such as company culture and employee loneliness yet still offers substantial employee, employer, and environmental benefits.

2) Regarding who can work from home, we assume 45% of the population hold jobs that are compatible.

That’s based on an update we did of a very thorough study done by Mathews & Williams, a couple of PhDs, who went through the Bureau of Labor (BLS) Statistics data and evaluated the jobs that met their criteria for remote work 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 revised Matthews & Williams assumptions to reflect the existing rate of participation among those categories that they excluded.

3) Recognizing that you can’t take you kids to school just on the days you head to the office, we relied on a synthesis of a number of respected studies by groups including the Reason Foundation, the Air Quality Board, and private company surveys to estimate how much driving is reduced on remote work days.

4) Not everyone wants to, can, or should work remotely. Our estimate for those who want to is based on a synthesis of studies by WorldatWork, the federal government, and private company surveys.

Primary Sources of Assumptions: U.S. Model

  • American Community Survey / Census
  • The Reason Foundation
  • U.S. General Services Administration
  • US Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • US Federal Highway Administration
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Colliers International
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • WorldatWork.org
  • Society for Human Resource Management

Primary Sources of Assumptions: UK Model

  • UK Office of National Statistics
  • UK National Travel Survey
  • UK National Travel Survey
  • You.gov
  • The Work Foundation
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Digest of UK Energy Statistics

Primary Sources of Assumptions: Canada Model

  • Statistics Canada
  • Conference Board of Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services of Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Environment Canada
  • Canadian Automobile Association
  • University of Oxford
  • Cushman and Wakefield
  • Colliers International
  • WorldatWork.org
  • Society for Human Resource Management

Workplace Savings Calculator™: The Variables

Over four dozen customizable variables allow us to build complex corporate and community models. You can view the customizable variables here.