At one point in our lives, we experience cabin fever. Part of the reasons that South African love their holidays so much is that they work extremely hard during the year and get sick of the routine and familiar environments. The reset button needs to be pressed every now and then.
This issue has been discussed in the US and Europe, but instead of urging workers to simply look forward to their vacations, they go out of their way to create an enabling office environment where workers don’t mind working.
Companies the in the US and Europe came up with the concept of telecommuting, the ability to work from home and delivering work to their managers either via email or via a shared platform – website – where the employees workload can be monitored.
According to a report by Business Today India, about a third of the US’ workforce have telecommuted at some time; further, the number of telecommuters has doubled in the last decade.
Echoing this popularity, a survey of 7 500 Indian employees reported a high demand for telecommuting. This is seen as the epitome of caring companies who encourage a work/life balance, especially mothers who have small children.
There are some advantages to telecommuting. A report by Huffington post pointed out these valid points:
– A Stanford study, conveniently released on the same day as Yahoo’s memo, reported that call center employees increased their performance by 13 percent when working from home. They also reported improved work satisfaction and experienced less turnover, according to the study.
– A University of Texas at Austin study from late last year found that those people who work from home add five to seven hours to their workweek compared with those who work exclusively at the office. Such workhorses, homeworkers are.
– A Bureau of Labour Statistics study, also from last year, reported that working remotely seems to boost productivity, decrease absenteeism — that means missing work — and increase retention. It also gives employers more incentive to ask you to work on weekends.
Yet, anecdotal evidence and newspaper reports in India suggest that the opportunity to work from home is restricted to a small set of valuable employees in the IT, finance, and consulting sectors. So it seems as if not every company feels the same about telecommuting. In fact, there is a whole movement against it.