People who work primarily at home report having more satisfaction with their job than those who work mostly at the office, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin.
The major advantage of working at home (which, according to the study, is telecommuting at least three days a week), is that there is less friction between a person’s work and his or her private life. Those who are critical of telecommuting usually cite as a reason the relative lack of communication between the telecommuter and the office. But those in the study said this really was not an issue with them, and that although they didn’t share news as often as those who worked in the office, they could access information whenever they needed to.
Those who conducted the study gave several reasons for the increased job satisfaction of telecommuting. One reason is that those working from home have fewer distractions that can interrupt those who work at the office. They are exposed to less of the stress-inducing events that go on in the office. There are no office politics or frequent meetings to deal with.
The results of the study suggest that there are advantages for organizations to actually decrease the amount of personal contact that occurs at work. The researchers also said the study points to the importance of dealing with the things at work that cause job satisfaction to suffer.
They suggested other ways of limiting superfluous personal interaction, such as cutting down on meetings and mass e-mails, making communication more efficient by creating a central location for accessing important information, and setting aside time periods specifically for people to work without interruption. They also said it is important to create an environment at work were employees can feel comfortable talking about their concerns without fearing some kind of negative reaction.
According to one survey, most senior executives believe that telecommuting is most appropriate for staff level employees rather than managers. The survey tallied responses from 100 senior executives from Canada, and 150 in the United States. Some 32 percent of the Canadian executives responding and more than 40 percent of the U.S. executives believe that telecommuting is more appropriate for staff employees. Only 28 percent of the Canadian executives and 18 percent of the American executives believe that telecommuting is right for managers. Moreover, more than two-thirds of the Americans responding and more than one-half of the Canadians said senior executives at their firms hardly ever telecommute.