Telecommuting Seen as More Productive than Office Work

For companies and individuals, deploying flexible work programs could be a way to improve health outcomes for individuals and the bottom line.

flexjobs and telecommute

Half of workers reported that their home--and not the office--is their location of choice to be most productive on important work-related projects, according to a FlexJobs survey of more than 2,600 Americans.

The top reasons people think they are more productive at home versus the office include fewer interruptions from colleagues (76 percent); fewer distractions (74 percent); minimal office politics (71 percent); reduced stress from commuting (68 percent), and more comfortable office environment (65 percent).

"I think one of the most interesting findings of the survey is that a growing number of people see a link between flexible work and improving their health," Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, told eWEEK. "In 2015, 32 percent said health was an important factor in wanting a job with work flexibility, up from 29 percent in 2013."

Fell said this could have big implications for our society as a whole, with health care provision and costs at the forefront of most people's minds.

"For companies and individuals, deploying flexible work programs could be a way to improve health outcomes for individuals and the bottom line," she explained.

The most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement continues to be 100 percent telecommuting (83 percent), but alternative or flexible schedules (51 percent), partial telecommuting (48 percent), part-time (47 percent), and freelance (41 percent) are also in demand.

"Mobile and cloud technologies have already become pervasive in our lives, and in our work, in ways we don’t even realize, and they provide more--and perhaps better--options for when, where, and how they get their work done," Fell said. "For example, people regularly check work email when they’re not in the office on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home computers – but they don’t realize or, therefore, acknowledge is that these actions are remote working. So the way that we work is changing, and telecommuting is creeping into our work styles more and more every year."

Fell noted a more profound confirmation in the study to this effect, which has been shown in years past as well, is that the office is not where most workers consider themselves most effective at getting important work projects done.

"This is a big problem, when the place where people are told they have to work from is not where they’re actually set up to be the most productive," she said. "Employers would be wise to pay attention to this fact, and to harness the clear potential benefits that telecommuting options offer in optimizing their workforce’s output."

The survey found 14 percent would choose the office but only outside standard hours, leaving less than a quarter who prefer the actual office during regular working hours as a place to complete important work.