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For Many Office Workers, Home Is Where the Heart Is

For Many Office Workers, Home Is Where the Heart Is
Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

When plugging away on a big assignment, do you get more done when working in a business-friendly environment like the office, or somewhere with more of a relaxed setting?

According to new research, more employees would rather work from the comfort of their own homes. Half of the employees surveyed would choose their home as the location to be most productive on important work projects, according to a study by the online career site FlexJobs. In addition, another 12 percent said they'd work at other places outside the office, including coffee shops, co-working spaces and libraries.

The study found that 14 percent of survey respondents would choose to work at the office, but only after before or after standard work hours. Overall, less than one-quarter of those surveyed said they prefer the actual office during regular working hours as a place to complete important tasks.

The research revealed a number of reasons why employees would rather work on big projects from home:

  • Fewer interruptions from colleagues
  • Fewer distractions
  • Minimal office politics
  • Reduced stress from commuting
  • More comfortable office environment

"The results of this survey unfortunately confirm that there is a serious problem with how our workplaces support — or, more accurately, don't support — an optimal environment for productivity, and this is a real loss in both opportunity and revenue for companies," Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, said in a statement.

Overall, workers' interest in telecommuting options is growing. Having a better work-life balance tops the list of motives for wanting to work from home. More than 80 percent of those surveyed this year said work-life-balance issues are the main reason they want flexible work options — up 9 percent from a year ago. [4 Issues Your Company's Telecommuting Policy Should Address ]

Many workers also want to telecommute to attend to family needs, save time and eliminate the stress of commuting.

There are also some health-related factors that make some employees want to work from home. This year, 32 percent of those surveyed said health was an important factor in wanting a job with work flexibility, up from 29 percent in 2013. Specifically, 97 percent said a job with flexibility would have a positive impact on their overall quality of life, 80 percent said they think it would make them healthier and 87 percent said they believe it would lower their stress.

Telecommuting programs can also benefit employers. More than 80 percent of the employees surveyed said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.

"Companies need to take a serious look at their telecommuting policies and how they can help to harness the benefits telecommuting offers them," Sutton Fell said.

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,600 employees, including entry-level workers, experienced workers and managers.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.