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Buck Up and Buckle Down with Telework


Employers ought to be scrambling to put telework policies in place, if two new studies are to be believed. The first study, conducting by a design firm, found that the modern office—characterized by an open floor plan often filled with cubicles—makes it harder for employees to concentrate. The WSJ reports on some solutions posed by the study’s authors:

The study bolstered the “activity-based work” movement, which holds that employees should choose different types of work environments – desks, café-like settings, meeting rooms — based on the type of tasks they are doing.  At companies that give workers a choice of where to work, along with the tools for working remotely, employees were 12% more satisfied with their jobs than those at companies without remote-work options.

Telework has been correlated with higher productivity; working from home cuts out a lengthy commute and gives workers the flexibility to block out time to get work done. It’s also popular with employees, which can help help companies attract and retain top talent. Keeping employees satisfied is especially important in the context of the second study, which found that almost 20 percent of workers surveyed hated their jobs so much they actively tried to sabotage their employer (h/t Tyler Cowen):

“These latest findings indicate that 70 percent of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive,” the pollers said. “Currently, 52 percent of workers are not engaged, and worse, another 18 percent are actively disengaged in their work.”

Fortunately, telework can help:

Intriguingly, people who work remotely seem to be more emotionally connected to their work—or at least put in longer hours, Gallup said. “Despite not always having a manager nearby to monitor their productivity, remote workers actually log more hours at their primary job than do their on-site counterparts.”

The technology of the information age is supposed to make modernity more human. If the current situation is dehumanizing and/or demoralizing, structuring your work existence in a more family- and social-friendly way with telework is a good idea. Score two more for telework.

[Telecommuting image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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