Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. telecommuters work less than 1 hour per day: Survey

Chores, TV, pets biggest distractions
||Last Updated: 09/16/2011

Nearly one in five (17 per cent) Americans who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day working, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. 

“With mass adoption of smartphones and advanced network technologies, telecommuters are connected to their offices like never before. As a result, we’re seeing more companies embrace the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours while at home,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “However, to avoid situations where telecommuters aren’t putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives. The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn’t diminish productivity.”

Thirty-five per cent of telecommuters work eight or more hours — up from 18 per cent in 2007 — and 40 per cent work between four and seven hours per day, found the survey of 5,300 Americans.

Telecommuters are largely split as to whether time spent at home or at the office is more conducive to high-quality work. Thirty-seven per cent said they are more productive at the office, while 29 per cent reported they are more productive at home. Thirty-four per cent do not see a difference, stating they are equally productive at home and the office, found the survey.

While most offices have their fair share of productivity roadblocks, home is hardly a disturbance-free zone. Telecommuters said there are many distractions, including:

•household chores (31 per cent)
•TV (26 per cent)
•pets (23 per cent)
•errands (19 per cent)
•Internet (18 per cent)
•children (15 per cent)

To help telecommuters work as efficiently as possible, employers should encourage employees to:

•keep a morning routine similar to if they were going into the office — including eating breakfast and dressing appropriately

•find the best spot to work with the fewest distractions

•stay connected to colleagues

•plan breaks consistent with what is in place at the office

•work at a coffee shop to simulate the office environment. 

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