In a contradiction, a majority of office workers fear that telecommuting can hurt their career prospects, yet just over half believe that it is beneficial for a company to endorse telecommuting. These results are the first in a four part workplace index survey of 700 white collar workers on the nature of work commissioned by Steelcase, an office environments manufacturer.
Almost half of the respondents’ companies allow them to telecommute, but less than a third take advantage, largely due to perceptions that working away from home will hinder their chances at a promotion due to the lack of contact with the employer (64%). Additionally, most office workers feel that their companies prefer them in the office to control their work environment (72%) and prevent a decline in productivity (71%).
Despite the hesitance of most office workers to telecommute, most have favorable impressions of working outside the office. Eighty percent of respondents believe that current technology allows them to remain just as connected to the office, while half feel that a different environment actually makes them more productive.
“The lines between work and life are continuing to blur and at an increasing pace,” said Chris Congdon, manager, corporate marketing at Steelcase. “Office workers view telecommuting as a way to be successful in both life and work. Employees appreciate companies that allow them to strike a balance, and if done well, the company can reap the rewards as well.”
And workers agree. Whereas most respondents believe their company prefers them in the office, over 50% feel that companies promoting telecommuting will be more successful than companies that do not endorse it. Over 80% of respondents believe that working away from the office increases morale for employees and reduces staff turnover.
Of those who do telecommute, an overwhelming 98% do so from the comfort of their home. Over half stay in touch via e-mail, while about a third of telecommuters communicate via the telephone.
Additional survey findings include:
- 80% of respondents believe telecommuting is a trend that will continue to grow over the next five years.
- 32% of respondents telecommute.
- 46% of respondents’ companies allow them to telecommute.
- 62% of respondents believe companies prefer them in the office to prevent a lack of communication; 41% believe it is because of the cost of the technology involved.
- 61% of telecommuters do so to balance their family and work life, and 37% do so to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Steelcase Workplace Index Surveys address current issues in today’s work environment. Results of additional parts in the Nature of Work series examine social networking, naps in the office, and romance at work. Past surveys have covered office gossip, exercise on the job, and workplace interaction between generations. Further information on workplace issues is available in the knowledge center on Steelcase’s Web site at www.steelcase.com.