Remote workers let it all hang out

Mar 02 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The growing trend towards home working is breeding a more productive and – certainly in terms of personal habits – a surprisingly more liberated workforce.

A survey of almost 1,000 remote and mobile workers worldwide by Insight Express and SonicWALL found that three-quarters believe that working remotely is an aid to productivity and six out of 10 are also convinced that their managers agree with them.

But the survey also revealed that most are surprisingly relaxed about their personal habits when working remotely.

While four out of 10 of respondents of both sexes said they wear casual sweats while working from home, 12 per cent of males and 7 per cent of females admitted that they sometimes work wearing nothing at all.

12 per cent of males and 7 per cent of females admitted that they sometimes work wearing nothing at all
What's more, cleanliness doesn't appear to be high on the list of priorities for many remote workers, either.

Fewer than half the women surveyed (44 per cent) said that they showered on work-at-home days, while only a third of men shaved every day and only one in three said they washed.

Four out of 10 women said that they regularly break off from work to do household tasks such as laundry, dishwashing or dusting, something that almost one in five men also claimed to do.

Remote working also provides an opportunity eating and drink outside standard times, listen to music or watch TV, while one in five said they sometimes sneaked in an afternoon nap.

But only one in 10 of those surveyed admitted to feelings of guilt about being away from the office.

But IT security came low on the list of priorities, with almost nine out of 10 of the individuals surveyed admitting to storing passwords in easily-discovered locations, and only just over one in 10 (12 per cent) employing encrypted files to store and manage their login data.

More than half - 56 per cent - said they rely on their memories to keep track of their network passwords, while others used the same passwords for all devices, stored the information on cell phones, or, for a forgetful few, stuck notes with the login information onto their computer.

Nevertheless, this easy-going approach helps keeps tempers on a more even keel than when in the office.

More than eight out of 10 of surveyed workers have never lost their temper with support staff trying to help then fix a problem. Only four out of 10 said they experienced problems when accessing their corporate networks remotely, although fewer than half accessed any applications other than Web mail when working outside the office.

More than half of the survey's respondents accessed the corporate network from home on a daily basis, with nearly nine out of 10 logging in remotely several times a week.

Respondents said that the chief attraction of working remotely was the ability to maintain a flexible schedule.

Surprisingly, less than a quarter (22 per cent) of workers said they used cell phones or PDAs to work from home, but this type of usage was expected to grow in the coming year.