Whether it’s a function of the soaring prices at the pump, the growing pressures on the “Sandwich” Generation, the higher costs of office space, a desire for greater workplace flexibility, or perhaps the simple reality that we can, there’s little question that more and more of us are able to work from someplace other than the environs of our respective employers.
This week, I asked readers how many days a week they were working from home – excluding weekends.
On average, this week’s respondents are toiling from home about one day a week, but that average obscures some interesting trends. Only about a quarter are actually doing so one day a week, while more than half are not telecommuting at all, and about 5% are squeezing in a half day (or less) a week.
On the other hand, about 12% are working from home five days/week – an interesting combination of folks with sales responsibilities (as one reader noted, “I travel all the time now, and as long as I am near an airport, I can live anywhere…I’m ‘in the office’ once every two weeks so they don’t forget what I look like….” ), consultants, and those who have had their company move from them, or have had a need to move away from their employer, but have been able to retain a remote position (for which all were extremely grateful, it should be noted). The rest tend to be irregular in their telecommuting – but that group averages 2-3 days/week.
However, what wound up (to me, anyway) being most interesting were the different perspectives over whether working from home was a good thing or not.
” One day/wk myself, and I’m actually more productive because I can limit the distractions,” said one. Another opined, “I don’t miss human interaction (I still get plenty over the phone,) and I avoid a lot of petty stuff between employees this way.”
But another noted, “I find the office environment allows me to concentrate better upon my work, network with others in the company, and keep up on the politics to which–from home–I was oblivious. More importantly, working from home blurred the line for me between my work life and my home life. I would be answering e-mails at 11 p.m. just because the laptop happened to be there. Now, back in an office, when I leave work I can feel like my home life belongs to me again.”
Echoing those concerns, one reader has “noticed that those who get access to work from home wind up spending more hours working because they pick up where they left off when they get home from the office. Once it is known you have access from home, it becomes ‘expected’ that you spend more hours working and so it becomes quite common to receive an e-mail sent at 10:30 p.m. from someone with home access.”
But a different perspective was offered by the reader who said, “I get a lot more done at the office than I do at home because there are too many other tasks competing for my time and attention at home.” That sentiment was affirmed by a reader who said, “I find that I need the separation between work and home. There are too many distractions at home for me to concentrate on a regular basis.”
“I much prefer meeting with individuals and groups in a face-to-face environment,” noted one, who went on to note that “It seems that setting gets things accomplished more quickly, with more buy-in from all parties, and with longer-lasting results than conference calls and e-mails. It’s amazing to me what is missed from facial expressions and body language.”
But another reader said, “My firm considers telecommuting to be a byproduct of the devil, never to be mentioned. Unfortunately, that attitude adversely affects productivity, as much time is wasted going to/from our offices for ‘face time’ rather than working productively in an off-site environment, including home.”
There were, of course, readers who would telecommute – or who would telecommute more – given the chance. One reader noted, “Our company used to allow us to work from home on an occasional basis–perhaps five days a month–but being in the retirement plan business, data security concerns have won out.”
Another said, “For some reason, our management believes that (telecommuting) should only be a perquisite for executives.”
But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Like just about all of my co-workers, I work from home one day per week. When I get back to the office the following day, I always hear the same thing: ‘It was so quiet here without you.'”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey .
I just responded from my home e-mail, this is my office e-mail. On average I work about 2.5 days per week from home. Obviously I have a hookup directly into my server in my office so I can operate from home as if I'm sitting at my office desk.
I work away from the office zero days per week-my employer does not allow it.
I've got online access from home and spend a minimum of 1 hour per day M-F working from home.
Blackberry o/s office would be a minimum of 2 hours per day (unfortunately while driving) M-F
I work from home maybe 3-4 days a month. Many times this is in conjunction with a sales call in the opposite direction from my office which is 26 miles east of my home, therefore I will work from home in the morning and then drive to my sales appointment leaving from home. Unfortunately, I can only check email and voice mail from home, I do not have full access to all my files from home. But I usually stay busy!
I have two reasons for doing this. One is gas prices for sure and the other is the time and travel involved in driving to the office when I could be working.
For now, I work all 40 hours at my company's office, but in the next six months or so, I plan on trying to work at least a day a week from home. Except for the rare meeting, my job can be done completely from a remote area.
Currently 0 as my company frowns on working from home. However, we have plans in place that would allow for me to work from home for at least 4 days per week should the bird flu become a pandemic.
On average, I work from home once a week (and really appreciate the flexibility!)
I don't work from home at all unless one of my kids is sick. I find that I need the separation between work and home. There are too many distractions at home for me to concentrate on a regular basis. It is nice however that I have the capability to do some work from home on the days that I do need to stay with a sick kid.
I can not think of any in the past 2 years.
I average zero, but I do have the flexibility to be able to work from home for emergency situations, such as when we got new carpet installed or had to meet deliverymen for our new kitchen appliances. Otherwise I am here every day, though I do have an irritating habit of checking work email most evenings from home - wanting to get a head start on the next day. Madness, I know, but I just can't stop!
Like just about all of my co-workers, I work from home one day per week. When I get back to the office the following day, I always hear the same thing, "It was so quiet here without you."
Zero (0). A large part of my job involves such tasks as
(1) managing a group of professionals with daily issues which need to be
(2) meeting with other department personnel regularly to review
processes and problems, changes in programs and the implementation of changes, etc.,
(3) meetings with vendors and customers,
(4) analysis of hard copy records which are too voluminous to transport back and forth to another location regularly.
These tasks, plus others, could be handled from a remote setting, but I find them easier and more efficiently handled from a central work site. I much prefer meeting with individuals and groups in a face-to-face environment.
It seems that setting gets things accomplished more quickly, with more buy in from all parties, and with longer lasting results than conference calls and emails. It's amazing to me what is missed from facial expressions and body language.
I travel all the time now, and as long as I am near an airport, I can live anywhere...I'm "in the office" once every two weeks so they don't forget what I look like....
5 days per week. I practice entirely from home. I discovered 10 years ago that clients didn't want to come to meetings any more and were happy with phone, fax and fed-ex. Email cinched it.
I design custom plans for about 200 clients and administer roughly 35 of those plans.
Zero. I made the decision years ago to keep home at home and work at work.
While my job requires that I spend an average of 1-2 days/week out of the office, primarily visiting clients and prospects, my firm considers telecommuting to be a byproduct of the devil, never to be mentioned. Unfortunately, that attitude adversely affects productivity as much time is wasted going to/from our offices for "face time" rather working productively in an off-site environment, including home.
OK, I'm an actuary... I average probably about 1/3 of a day per week (another way of saying I probably work from home once every three weeks).
Actually, I would do it more often but I work for an organization that has a lot of people who have been with the company a long time and they tend to be more "old school". I feel that my peers frown upon my working from home.
A year ago, we moved from the city where my company is headquartered all the way across the country so my husband could attend seminary. I am truly blessed and obviously work for a great company because they let me keep my job and work from home! So to answer your question, I now work thirty hours a week from homeâ€¦selling 401(k) plans.
I just moved from Arizona to Washington, but am keeping my same job in Phoenix. I'll be averaging 40 hours a week telecommuting.
1 day/wk myself, and I'm actually more productive because I can limit the distractions. I have two colleagues who work on average about 2 days a week from home (they enjoy it because it allows them to multitask by working and watching their kids!)
I work from home 100% of the time, and have for 21 months. I visit the office (700 miles away) about once a quarter. Overall it is a benefit, however even though I am on the phone much of the day, I miss being in an office with co-workers. There is something to be said about dealing with people face to face. My wife takes advantage of the situation a little more than she should (can you keep an eye on kids while I run an errand?). Even with the occasional travel, I am sure the company is saving money by me working at home.
Man, I wish! Zero hours worked from home.
I always loved telecommuting... until it was forced upon me.
In September of 2005 my basement-level office flooded when one of the post-Katrina hurricanes came up the Eastern seaboard. They dried it out as best they could, but the smell of mildew permeated the walls regardless, driving me out of that office.
For almost a year I was without an office, as they couldn't find a space for me. Since I was on the road a few days a week, it was seen that I didn't really need an office except to receive mail. Of course, they didn't want to provide office supplies, a phone line or internet service to facilitate having a home office either.
Ultimately, the fact that no one cared that I had no office drove me out of my company (it was the last of several indicators that I needed to start searching) and into a much better company and position that I began last month. The final straw was my then-boss saying to me (after 9 months of telecommuting) "by the way, where do you sit these days?"
I no longer have any desire whatsoever to work from home. I find the office environment allows me to concentrate better upon my work, network with others in the company, and keep up on the politics to which--from home--I was oblivious.
More importantly, working from home blurred the line for me between my work life my and home life. I would be answering e-mails at 11PM at night just because the laptop happened to be there. Now, back in an office, when I leave work I can feel like my home life belongs to me again.
I was afraid that in my new job they would assign me a BlackBerry so I could receive e-mails at all hours. Luckily, they didn't offer me one, and I have no desire to ask for one. It's just better that way.
We don't have regular telecommuting schedules, but we can request access to work from home if we desire.
I have noticed that those who get access to work from home wind up spending more hours working because they pick up where they left off when they get home from the office. Once it is known you have access from home, it becomes 'expected' that you spend more hours working and so it becomes quite common to receive an email sent at 10:30 p.m. from someone with home access. Therefore, I choose not to get access from home so that I can actually work less hours.
Well, first of all you should include weekends in your survey!
But to play along with your rules, I would say about once a week, although my boss wants me to work at home 3 days...do you think he's trying to tell me something?
Our company used to allow us to work from home on an occasional basis- perhaps five days a month- but being in the retirement plan business, data security concerns have won out. So just because we can technologically...doesn't mean we can in the real world, unfortunately...
average per week of zero -- if fact the few times I've been able to work from home in the last 10 years are when I have appointments at home such as the furnace/air-conditioner guy coming and I have to wait around all day (and on those days I inevitably need a book or file from my office in order to complete what I'm trying to accomplish at home)!
4 days a week from homeâ€¦..for eight years. Works very well for both employee and employer. Type of work makes a good fit for telecommuting. Requires a good IT group to set up/maintain the communications.
Hi, Nevin. I have been telecommuting full time for the past 9 months. I am the only employee of a national organization in Oregon. I was housed in our local sales office for awhile until it occurred to me that almost all of my interactions were with out-of-state offices and I could do that just as well from home. My employer has been supportive and the added flexibility has helped me as well. I don't miss human interaction (I still get plenty over the phone) and I avoid a lot of petty stuff between employees this way. I've actually reached the point where I get a little miffed if I have to go downtown for some reason, even to have lunch with former co-workers. What a waste of time! I admit I thought I was one of those people who could never telecommute and, as I am not a morning person, I confess I start the day off slowly and gently, but I find I like this arrangement very much.
On average only 6.25 days/wk. I work in the office 4 - 10 hour days including one weekend day due to my commute. However, as long as my home computer is working (currently not) I work everyday. I'm expected to be available by email every week day to respond to emergencies from my cohorts.
Even once I get home after 13 hours (2 on road & 1 for "lunch" & the other 10 hours). And Yes, I do talk in my sleep.
On average, I probably telecommute one day each week in part to save gas but also to avoid the horrific rush hour traffic here in Phoenix. I work 40 miles from home which can be grueling when the highways are jammed so I do everything possible to avoid getting caught in this including staggered hours and arranging afternoon meetings closer to home (we have 9 offices in the Phoenix metropolitan area).
None, on average. I did WAH last December when I lived in NYC and they had the transit strike. Or if I need to be at home for a delivery or something like that I can request to do work at home. Otherwise, no.
In the ordinary course, I'm more likely to stay late if I have extra work. I'm very good about not letting work encroach on my weekends and flex days.
I think working at home is over-rated. I work from home once every 2nd or 3rd week because of personal reasons (doctor appointments, etc). I get a lot more done at the office than I do at home because there are too many other tasks competing for my time and attention at home.
Working at a bank, I am at the office everyday.
My former boss at a previous company had a deal to work from home every Friday. It was a deal sweetener because of his long daily commute. Other employees were asked to always be in the office since working from home was frowned on as productivity could not be monitored.
Zero days per week for me
We do have a telecommuting employee in my team who works from home 9 days out of every 10. (She comes in once every two weeks). On the whole, it works out quite well, and certainly beats not having her at all, which is where we would be if we weren't willing to let her telecommute. You need a really good IT department for this kind of thing, excellent internet connection, and some patience for dealing with the inevitable problems.
I work at home every Friday, and it's been terrific. I save an hour and half (or so) commute that day, and can use lunchtime to help at my son's school or wait for an electrician. I've always had day care (and now school) for my son, so I'm available to come in for meetings as necessary. It's enable me to stay full time and not be away from the office on school and doctor's appointment type things the other days.
My employer had allowed me to work from home one day a week, saving me a 120 mile round trip commute. However, the privilege has now been suspended. Key reason given was "no longer a business need to work from home." Still trying to determine what that means!
None. For some reason, our management believes that should only be a perquisite for executives. Overall, our company is not family friendly.