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Telecommuters: They’re Not Who You Think They Are

Survey dispels some myths about telecommuters

Men telecommute  More thanWhen most of us think of working from home we think of busy moms trying to juggle a full-time job with childcare. Parents who need a flexible schedule that allows them to hold down a job while still being there when the kids get home from school. But, it would seem that that’s not the case.

The majority of people telecommuting – three out of four – are men according to the results of a December 2013 survey by Flex+Strategy Group/Work Life Fit. Furthermore, the survey found that there was virtually no difference in the number who had kids and those without kids. Nor was there a significant difference in age groups with Gen-Y (18-29), Gen-X (30-49) and Boomer+ (50+), coming in at 35 percent, 30 percent, and 30 percent, respectively.

Overall nearly one third of respondents (31 percent) do most of their work away from the office whether that means at home, at a business center or some other location. We’re guessing the local Starbucks. But, those working remotely don’t have as much flexibility as one might think with 31 percent of remote workers saying they have “less work life flexibility now than at this time last year.”

Of those who do most of their work in a corporate setting 42 percent of those in a cube or open office space say they have “less work life flexibility” than they did a year ago compared to 22 percent of those with private offices. Not surprisingly women are more likely to be cube-dwellers than men coming in at 43 percent vs. 27 percent.

The survey notes that while reconfiguring a work environment to fit more people in the same amount of space saves employers money, it often results in lack of concentration and lower productivity. To help alleviate these problems Flex+Strategy Group/Work Life Fit recommends that employers “encourage people who work in cube /open office spaces to flexibly do their job based on how, when and where they will be most productive—in the office, at home, or at another remote location.”

They note that employers need to help all employees, whether they work in office or remotely, to “develop the critical skill set they need to manage their work life fit so that they can successfully capture the best of collaborative and remote work environments.”

To read the complete survey results visit Flex+Strategy Group/Work Life Fit.

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