December 4, 2012
Working From Home Doesn’t Mean Working Fewer Hours
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
A new study from The University of Texas at Austin shows that working from home actually increases an individual's amount of work hours.
The study found that most of the 30 percent of survey respondents who work from home add five to seven hours to their workweek compared with those who work exclusively at the office.
The team also found that remote workers were less likely to work a standard 40 hour schedule and more likely to work overtime. Most telecommuting hours occur after an employee has already put in 40 hours of work at the office.
The researchers analyzed trends in the use of telecommuting among employees and employers in the US civilian workforce by using two nationally representative data sources, including the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 panel and special supplements from the US Census Bureau´s Current Population Survey.
The results were published in the Monthly Labor Review and they indicate that telecommuting causes work to start penetrating the boundaries between office and home life.
According to the survey, a majority of tech-savvy workers claim that telecommuting technology has increased their overall work hours and that employees use technology to perform work tasks even when sick or on vacation.
“Careful monitoring of this blurred boundary between work and home time and the erosion of ℠normal working hours´ in many professions can help us understand the expansion of work hours overall among salaried workers,” Jennifer Glass, who is the Barbara Pierce Bush Regents Professor in Liberal Arts, said in a statement.
The team found that the labor demand for work-family accommodation does not propel the distribution of telecommuting hours. The authors said that parents with dependent children are no more likely to work form home than the population as a whole.
According to the study, employees with authority and status are more likely than others to have the option to work remotely.
The authors found that telecommuting is not a trend that has caught on quite yet in the American workplace, and in those places where it is commonly used, it is not very helpful in reducing work-family conflicts.