A study conducted by Brigham Young University and published this past summer in the Journal of Family Psychology reported that employees who were able to work from home said they had a better work/life balance than their office-based colleagues — even though the telecommuters worked much longer hours.
The study took a look at almost 24,500 IBM employees spread over 75 countries. Researchers did so in order to ascertain the number of hours someone had to work before 25 percent said that work interfered with their personal/family life.
Those who worked in IBM’s offices reported that point to be 38 hours a week, while those who could telecommute reached that point at 57 hours per week The telecommuters also “flexed” their time working at home between personal/home tasks and work tasks. Both genders reported that they appreciated the flexible working arrangement.
The report found that more than 80 percent of IBM’s managers said they believe that productivity increases when flexible working arrangements are made available. The study found that flexibility in the telecommuting arrangement was key to satisfaction, however (those who could telecommute but who still had strict and set times to work weren’t as satisfied with the arrangement).
The study reported that a recessionary economy may make telecommuting and flex-time options more attractive to companies because these arrangements can save money or, at the least, not cost companies any more than the traditional 8-5 arrangement does. Such flexible work options were found to create higher job satisfaction in employees and boosted morale.
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