Weary commuters want flexible working


Travel-weary commuters in both London and New York share the same dream of being able to work flexibly from home, the office or on the move, with the change in location working wonders for their relationships and quality of life, a new transatlantic survey has found.

The Flexible Working Survey 2004 conducted by Netilla Networks, quizzed 165 commuters on their way to work at Liverpool Street Station, in London, and Penn Station, in New York City, whose average commute was a grinding two hours

The survey found that more than three quarters would jump at the opportunity to work from home if their employers offered it to them and that more than eight out of ten felt that having the choice to work either at home or in the office was the ideal setup.

Stress, quality of life and enhancing relationships with their partners are the key factors for most workers keen for the chance to work remotely, with eight out of ten claiming that it would make their job less stressful and three-quarters convinced that it would enhance their relationship with their partner.

One woman respondent said she was certain that it would perk up her love life as she’d at least have the energy to spend quality time with her husband if she didn’t have to endure such long hours and her daily commute.

Over half of the commuters admitted that they felt long hours affected their relationship adversely, with one man saying his long hours at work is the reason he’s getting a divorce.

"This survey provides additional evidence of what we’ve believed all along – that we all seek the freedom to work whenever and wherever we want, whether it is at home when the kids are sick, at a hotel, an Internet café, or even a crowded railway station using a Wi-Fi network," said Reggie Best, president and CEO of Netilla Networks.

Almost seven out of ten workers felt that if they were trusted to work in a flexible environment their productivity would improve. In addition, two-thirds said that being offered the opportunity to work remotely would make them more loyal to their employer.

Two women interviewed said they were actively looking for a new job which would offer them flexible working conditions.

While the survey found that commuters on both sides of the Atlantic are strongly in favour of the option to telework, the impact of commuting in terms of stress and quality of life was clearly more pronounced in the UK than in the USA.

Only two thirds of US commuters felt that the telework option would make their jobs less stressful, compared to more than eight out of ten of those in the UK surveyed. Likewise only half of US commuters said that flexible working would enhance their significant-other relationship compared with eight out of ten transport-traumatised Brits.