Nearly a Third of Canadians Who Work From Home Spend One Hour or Less a Day Working, Survey Finds
-Thirteen per cent of telecommuters spend eight hours or more working -
- Twenty-five per cent of telecommuters tend to work in pajamas -
PR Newswire

TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Is working from home an efficient alternative to the traditional office job or a productivity killer? The results of a new survey on telecommuting may bolster the arguments for both sides. While nearly one third (32 per cent) of Canadians who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day on work, 13 per cent work eight or more hours. Forty-five per cent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day.

The national survey – conducted May 19 to June 8, 2011, with more than 400 employees – reveals that nearly one-in-five Canadians (18 per cent) say they telecommute for work.

"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 per cent say they are more productive at the office, while 26 per cent report they are more productive at home. Thirty-seven per cent 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 per cent
  • TV – 22 per cent
  • Errands – 20 per cent
  • Children – 18 per cent
  • Internet – 18 per cent
  • Pets – 9 per cent

Haefner recommends the following tips to help telecommuters work as efficiently as possible:

  • Keep a normal morning routine. The survey found that 25 per cent of telecommuters tend to work in pajamas. 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.  

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within Canada by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder Canada among 425 workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between May 19 to 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 425 one could say with a 95 per cent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.75 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.  

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