Conventional wisdom suggests that having employees in the office means they will be more focused and more productive, but recent research from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management suggests that Telecommuters – people who work from home one or several days per week – and those who have flextime available to them from their employers claim that they can work an average of 19 hours more per week before feeling that their job is interfering with their life.
Researchers from Brigham Young University analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries, identifying the point at which 25 percent of employees reported that work interfered with personal and family life.
For office workers on a regular schedule, the breaking point was 38 hours per week. Given a flexible schedule and the option to telecommute, employees were able to clock 57 hours per week before experiencing such conflict.
Not all of those 57 hours are telecommuting hours, notes lead study author E. Jeffrey Hill, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life. The typical high-flexibility work arrangement includes a mix of office time and firing up the laptop from home, the venue depending on the task at hand.
“Telecommuting is really only beneficial for reducing work-life conflict when it is accompanied by flextime,” Hill said. ~ Source: BYU News
This isn’t completely a new thought, however. Earlier this year, Discovery News reported findings from another study done in the UK that "working remotely appears to be connected with working harder and being happy with your job."
A recent study out of Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom suggests that workers given flexible hours by their employers tend to work more intensely than their counterparts with more rigid office hours.
The researchers posit that the reason for this phenomenon is a kind of payment to the employer from the worker in exchange for the freedom to choose where and when to work.
However, the reality of a down job-economy right now drives employees to put in longer office hours to appear indispensable which may actually drive down employee loyalty over time and increase turnover and recruiting costs:
That [employee's] jacket needs to be on the back of the office chair at 8 at night because everyone is trying to prove that they’re indispensable.
–Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, reported by CNN
What about you? Do you work longer when you know your company is willing to be flexible with your time and schedule?