A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Milwaukee, has found that contrary to popular belief, workers who telecommute several days each week, do not come to feel disassociated from the colleagues and instead, as the University’s T[email protected] newspaper reports, tend to feel more agitated by interruptions by those who are at the office. Also, Entrepreneur says that the good aspects of telecommuting are increasingly seen as far outweighing the bad.
To come to these conclusions, UWM says, the team solicited volunteers from several worksites, some of whom worked full time at the office, while others split their time between telecommuting (at least three days a week) and working in the office. Workers were asked to fill out questionnaires over the course of several months regarding how they felt about their job, their colleagues and most particularly, how stressed they felt due to their job and the reasons behind it.
After analyzing the data, the team found much to their surprise that the vast majority of those workers who telecommuted reported less stress than did those who remained at the office fulltime. The exceptions, they found were workers who described being constantly interrupted by co-workers or their boss, which they said, interfered with their work flow which they added, went against much of the point of working from home, i.e. to get away from the distraction of others.
Meanwhile, Entrepreneur reports that their experience has shown that workers who telecommute report higher levels of satisfaction with their jobs than do those that have drag themselves into the office every day, even those who were the bosses or ran their own businesses. They say that time saved not sitting in traffic was one of the biggest factors, with avoidance of distractions cited as second.
This all flies in the face of conventional thinking, UWM says, because for years, the view has been that people need the camaraderie that develops with co-workers who work in close physical proximity in order to feel secure in their position within a company. Also, there are the quasi-friendships that develop when people spend a lot of time together, that anthropologists have been insisting people need in order to have a reasonably happy work life. Instead, this new research shows that people feel less stress and are more productive when working from home and apparently don’t need that constant reassurance that they belong in order to enjoy their job.
These findings, the researchers say, are likely to lead to other studies which could over time, lead to more organizations supporting telecommuting which would be not only better for the employees, apparently, but better for the environment.