20

There are a lot of discussions with regards to Telecommuting and Work from Home at various places I worked. In most cases a company allowed people to work remotely but there are some that don't.

My question is if I need to convince someone that this would be beneficial for the company is there any hard data, case studies or other evidence with respect to productivity, cost effectiveness, etc that could be used to convince management of the benefits of telecommuting?

  • 2
    Meta discussion on whether this question is too broad or not. – yannis Apr 16 '12 at 4:29
  • There is rather good reasons for being together with colleagues in person. For instance the bandwidth between them and you is much bigger. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 3 '14 at 11:53
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen There are always good reason to see your colleagues in person but there are also good reasons to be able to stay home and work. – Karlson Mar 3 '14 at 13:05
19

You might start with the reports compiled by the US government.

The annual reports to Congress also provide some useful statistics, such as:

In Tables 5 – 7, a greater percentage of teleworkers are shown to be in a somewhat better position to perform their jobs with excellence than those who are not able to telework.
Findings suggest that Federal teleworkers have a clearer understanding of work expectations (83% versus 79% favorable), are held accountable for results (87% versus 83% favorable), and have a clearer sense of control over work processes (53% versus 44%) when compared with those employees who do not telework as a result of barriers.

Positive employee attitudes typically relate to beneficial outcomes for organizations. In a review of telework research, Gajendran and Harrison (2007) show that participants in telework are more likely to exhibit job satisfaction and increased performance. Several EVS items allow beneficial attitudes to be examined, including job satisfaction. In Table 8, a remarkably larger percentage of teleworkers (76%) are shown to report satisfaction with their jobs than those who are not able to telework (68%). (link)

  • 2
    +1 for links to ongoing data collection activities, and also pulling out relevant info in case of linkrot. – jcmeloni Apr 15 '12 at 16:30
6

I don't know of any specific studies to point you to, but there's tons of resources around the web that talk about this. There are also the occasional conferences hosted that talk about how to manage remote teams, which is what will be the most important for folks in management roles.

Besides, the most likely way to get this implemented in your place of work is going to be a specific application of the supposed benefits to your workplace, and convincing your supervisors that they don't need to physically see you in order to know what you're up to, and to feel like they can have some idea of whether or not you're getting done what needs to get done.

There are also situations where the type of work you do doesn't work well with remote team members. For example, I currently work at a place where most of my work is creative and/or requires long periods of concentration, and collaboration between team members doesn't need to happen every day. As a result, we have the option to work from home about two days out of the month - but really, two days out of the month is more than enough. Too much time away from your peers and you start to lose the huge benefit of collaboration at a moment's notice.

I also previously worked at a very fast-paced, team-supported enterprise IT environment where teams of people would support customers together. It was unrealistic to have this structure, and have everyone work from home, because if something was going wrong in a customer's environment (e.g. a major outage) it was WAY more efficient to just look across your desk and say, "Joe, the email server at [customer xyz] is down," because Joe might need to know that for the next 25 calls he's about to take, or even the call he might be currently on. Sure, we could have used some collaborative, online board where information like this is spread, but it's just not the most efficient method in that kind of situation. When critical communication absolutely has to happen within seconds, the challenges of remote teams become too much to be practical, in some settings.

So, ultimately, I would suggest you look at the myriad information sources available on this topic, try to find a few that seem to describe a working environment most like the one in which you work, and try some of the things they suggest. Any successful deployment of a work remote strategy is going to have to be highly tailored to the company culture, the type of work, and several other things that are specific to you that a study just won't cover, other than anecdotally. I don't think a formal study is going to have the kind of impact you need to convince your supervisors to try it anyway (can you really see them taking the time to read a formal, scholarly study on the topic?) - I think you need to suggest it, and just take the leap.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.