Survey: Giving Workers Freedom Has Advantages

February 10, 2004 ( - Giving Internet-connected workers the freedom to choose where they do their work ultimately pays off in a greater willingness to do work outside normal business hours, a new study said.

The study by researcher Zanthus for the InternetHomeAlliance (IHA) found that, not surprisingly, workers with complete freedom to choose their work location are much more likely to be satisfied with their work/life balance than those with only limited freedom. Benefits of having this freedom included:

  • feeling better about the job overall
  • improved employee morale
  • decreased travel costs and downtime
  • improved relationship with family and friends.

The two prominent concerns are that widespread mobile workers could make it difficult for managers to function effectively and could potentially create feelings of isolation in the mobile employee.

Self-employed workers were more likely to be satisfied with their set up than those laboring for a boss – apparently because of the boost in the worker’s sense of autonomy, the study found.

Many mobile and remote workers told pollsters that Internet technology helped them pull off the work/life balance they want. “This and other findings suggest workers’ concerns about work-life balance can be alleviated to a large degree through an intelligent application of technology, combined with progressive workplace management,” researchers wrote.

Further, if workers are going to labor outside the office, they’d prefer it to be in their home office, they told Zanthus pollsters. They rank customer or client sites the same as working in the office and every other venue to be less productive.

Finally, the IHA developed a new segmentation scheme to describe the mobile working employee group:

  • Remote Achievers – 45%; likely to have complete freedom to choose where they work and are self-described early adopters of new Web technology.
  • Stess Avoiders – 26%, hard workers who are nonetheless comparatively more focused on improving their personal lives
  • Office Achievers – 29%, have some freedom to choose and are more inclined to work in their assigned office space.

More information about the study is available here .