Photo (cc) by Peter Kaminski
When that major work project is pending, where do you like to work on it?
Office? Home? Starbucks?
In a recent FlexJobs survey, half of more than 2,600 respondents named home — not the office — as their location of choice to be most productive on important work-related projects. Only 1 in 4 chose the office during regular work hours. The office outside regular work hours was the third most popular choice. And just more than 1 in 10 said a coffee shop, co-working space, library or somewhere besides the office would be best.
Why does home beat the office for many? Top reasons by survey respondents: fewer interruptions from colleagues, 76 percent; fewer distractions, 74 percent; minimal office politics, 71 percent; reduced stress of commuting, 68 percent; and more comfortable office environment, 65 percent.
The case for at-home work
“The results of this survey unfortunately confirm that there is a serious problem with how our workplaces support — or more accurately, don’t support — an optimal environment for productivity, and this is a real loss in both opportunity and revenue for companies,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a subscription-based online service for professionals seeking remote and other flexible work opportunities. “Companies need to take a serious look at their telecommuting policies and how they can help to harness the benefits telecommuting offers them.”
Telecommuting is on the rise but still far from the norm, says Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted, up slightly from 30 percent last decade but four times greater than the 9 percent found in 1995, Gallup says.
“Technology has made telecommuting easier for workers, and most companies seem willing to let workers do their work remotely, at least on an occasional basis if the position allows for it,” the pollster says.
Telecommuting growth has leveled off, though, Gallup reports.
“It is unclear how much more prevalent telecommuting can become because it is really only feasible for workers who primarily work in offices using a computer to perform most of their work duties,” Gallup says.
Looking for options
Sutton Fell credits the rise to employers strategically incorporating telecommuting options for teams already using mobile and cloud technologies, as well as to workers’ demands.
“The trends we’ve seen in why people seek flexible work year over year are undeniable,” Sutton Fell says. “It makes them happier and healthier in their personal lives, and more productive and satisfied in their work lives.”
Among other survey findings:
- Work-life balance remains the No. 1 reason for seeking flexible work arrangements.
- Up to nearly 1 in 3 workers would trade some company benefits in exchange for telecommuting options. Those include pay cuts of 10 percent or 20 percent; reduced vacation time; and reduced company contributions to retirement plans.
- Nearly 1 in 3 said health was an important reason for wanting work flexibility, although most agreed telecommuting would improve their quality of life and lower stress.
- The most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement continues to be 100 percent telecommuting (83 percent), but alternative or flexible schedule (51 percent), partial telecommuting (48 percent), part-time (47 percent), and freelance (41 percent) are also in demand.
An estimated 3.3 million people hold legitimate work-from-home jobs. Customer service rep is the most common work-from-home job, but others include executive level positions and jobs with titles such as health care information specialist, medical coder, research scientist, pharmaceutical representative, nurse case manager and others that may improve life-work balance and offer savings.
Maybe one is right for you.
What’s your preference if you have a big project? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.