By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some of us don’t have a choice but to trudge to work through the snow. But many jobs can be done outside the office — so why aren’t more bosses taking advantage of the payoff for them and their employees alike?

More than half of us could put in our eight hours from home (or wherever) if we were allowed, but only about three percent of workers in Greater Philadelphia count themselves as regular telecommuters.

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Kate Lister, who heads the flexible work advocate Global Workplace Analytics says, “Take your salary and divide it by 250 working days a year. For every one of those days you’re not at work, your employer has lost that productivity.”

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Lister crunches the numbers,”We estimate for every half-time telecommuter, the employer saves about $11,000 a year. That’s a combination of real estate savings, productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.”

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Some employees thrive under the arrangement; others need more structure. Either way, the technology can’t be an experiment: the business must offer a secure, reliable link and workers should have equipment and passwords at the ready.