The latest benefits survey from the Society for Human Resource Management finds 60 percent of companies offering telecommuting, working from home on an occasional or regular basis. Two decades ago, a mere 20 percent offered it. Employee demands for flexibility, improved remote working technology and cost-savings opportunities are all driving more companies to support telecommuting.
Telecommuting can be a dream of convenience and flexibility, or a nightmare of work swallowing up personal and family time. Research on telecommuting finds many benefits, but also some drawbacks.
Academic researchers who pulled together dozens of telecommuting studies found a number of positive impacts. Another study compared travel company employees working from home with those in the office. It found those working from home were more satisfied and 13 percent more productive than office workers. Some of that boost was attributed to the less distracting work environment. But most of the jump in productivity was because the home workers put in more hours overall, a tendency other researchers also find.
Blurred lines between home and work can be quite stressful if not managed well. That danger speaks to the need for companies and workers to enter into telecommuting arrangements very carefully.