Yahoo's recent decision to ban telecommuting has set off a firestorm in debate about working from home. However, new research has found that workers themselves are split on the prospects and benefits that working from home affords them.
On the one hand, 64 percent of workers say that working from home improves their productivity and work output. And an additional 90 percent of workers say that working from home helps to provide flexibility. That flexibility is particularly useful for the majority of workers who say that working from home helps them to balance work and family needs.
On the other hand, workers admit that there are benefits to being in the office. Eighty-four percent of workers say that working in an office setting helps to build camaraderie and nearly 80 percent of workers say that the best ideas occur in impromptu meetings and discussions at the office. Additionally, 81 percent of workers say that being in the office improves communication, while 35 percent of workers say that working from home hurts speed and quality.
Despite that split, workers say that they are looking for the ability to work from home as a perk in their job. To that end, 83 percent of workers agree that the option to work from home is a big work perk and 61 percent agree that they will take that perk into account when deciding about a job.
Overall, 34 percent of workers say that they spend some time working from home. Just 9 percent of workers say they work from home exclusively, while 8 percent spend half their time working from home.
The poll of 2,219 adults also found that employees between ages 18 and 34 are more likely to work from home than workers from all other age groups. Additionally, parents are more likely to work from home than those without children. However, men are more likely to work from home than women.
"Regardless of the reasons, the public outing of the decision has definitely increased exposure to the pros and the cons of working from home. Almost no one can argue the flexibility it provides, but there is also the challenge of a decrease in face-to-face collaboration," the researchers said in a statement. "These divides need to find a common ground, and better technology is surely going to be the way companies get there."
The research was conducted by the Harris Poll.