Working-from-home increases efficiency

Washington: Researchers have found that telecommuters balance work and family life better than office workers and can even squeeze in extra work each week.

Researchers from Brigham Young University analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries, identifying the point at which 25 percent of employees reported that work interfered with personal and family life.

Given a flexible routine and an option to telecommute, they could clock in 57 hours per week, as against 38 hours in a regular schedule.

“Telecommuting is really only beneficial for reducing work-life conflict when it is accompanied by flextime,” said lead study author E. Jeffrey Hill, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life.

“Managers were initially skeptical about the wisdom of working at home and said things like, ‘If we can’t see them, how can we know they are working?’” Hill said.

But managers are increasingly encouraging a flexible environment because they think it increases productivity.

“A down economy may actually give impetus to flexibility because most options save money or are cost-neutral,” Hill said.

“Flexible work options are associated with higher job satisfaction, boosting morale when it may be suffering in a down economy.”

The study, titled “Finding an Extra Day or Two,” will appear in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.