CHICAGO, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Is working from home an efficient alternative to the traditional office job or a productivity killer? The results of a new CareerBuilder survey on telecommuting may bolster the arguments for both sides. While nearly one-in-five (17 percent) Americans who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day on work, 35 percent work eight or more hours – a major increase from a 2007 CareerBuilder study in which only 18 percent of telecommuters said they worked eight or more hours. Forty percent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day.
The national survey – conducted May 19 to June 8, 2011, with nearly 5,300 employees – reveals that Americans are able to work from home on a more regular basis post-recession. Ten percent telecommute at least once a week – up from eight percent in 2007.
"With mass adoption of smart phones and advanced network technologies, telecommuters are connected to their offices like never before. As a result, we're seeing more companies embrace the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours while at home," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "However, to avoid situations where telecommuters aren't putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives. The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn't diminish productivity."
Telecommuters are largely split as to whether time spent at home or at the office is more conducive to high-quality work. Thirty-seven percent say they are more productive at the office, while 29 percent report they are more productive at home. Thirty-four percent do not see a difference, stating they are equally productive at home and the office.
While most offices have their fair share of productivity roadblocks, home is hardly a disturbance-free zone. Telecommuters say the following are the biggest distractions:
- Household chores – 31 percent
- TV – 26 percent
- Pets – 23 percent
- Errands – 19 percent
- Internet – 18 percent
- Children – 15 percent
Haefner recommends the following tips to help telecommuters work as efficiently as possible:
- Keep a normal morning routine. The survey found that 30 percent of telecommuters tend to work in pajamas – 41 percent of females and 22 percent of males. The truth is you'll probably work better if you treat your mornings as if you were going to the office. If there's one good thing about a commute, it's that you get a mental transition between home and work life. Get out of bed, dress up, grab breakfast – do anything that will get your mind in the right place.
- Find the best spot to work. Even if you don't have a dedicated home office, it's important that you find the least distracting place in your home. Don't be tempted by the entertainment system or the recliner.
- Stay connected to colleagues. It's easier to slack off when you know your colleagues or managers aren't watching. If you're struggling to stay motivated at home, schedule an update meeting or call and talk shop with an office peer to get your mind back on work.
- Plan your breaks. You should never feel like a prisoner in your own home. Plan short breaks to take care of chores, play with pets, exercise, or run a brief errand. You'll be less likely to succumb to quitting work early if you structure the perks of being at home appropriately into your schedule.
- Take your work to a coffee shop. A lot of workers don't like telecommuting because they're accustomed to working around others. Working at home can be lonely. If your job allows it, try spending an afternoon in a coffee shop or library. At many spots, you'll likely find contract workers or other telecommuters toiling away, as well.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 5,299 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government); ages 18 and over between May 18 and June 8, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 5,299 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.35 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.