U.S. workers want greater flexibility

2006

Although six out of 10 Americans believes that telecommuting at least some of the time would be the ideal working arrangement, fewer than a quarter are actually given the option by their employer.

A survey on worker productivity by consultants Hudson found that while a mere 23 per cent of employees are able to work from home, 38 per cent would prefer to work at home some of the time and 21 per cent would be keen to do so full time.

Managers are twice as likely than non-managers to have the option of telecommuting (20 per cent compared to 10 percent), while more than a third of entrepreneurs (37 per cent) said that working from home is their ideal work set-up.

Even among workers who are not given the choice, half report that working away from the office at least sometimes would be their preference.

However while the recent 2005/2006 National Technology Readiness Survey found that barely more than one in 10 of Americans able to work from home regularly actually do so, the Hudson survey painted a very different picture.

Only one in five of those who have the option of working from home rarely or never choose to do so, it suggested.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of those surveyed also acknowledged the importance of in-person communication, with only one in 10 believing that virtual meetings, whether held over the telephone or online, are more productive than meeting face-to-face.

Hudson's Peg Buchenroth said that the survey carried a clear message for America's employers.

"As competition for talent heats up, employers will be forced to consider alternative retention tactics such as permitting telecommuting.

"While this is not feasible in all situations, most employees want the flexibility to be able to get work done without going into the office at least every once in a while."

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