Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Teleworkers Make the Best Employees

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I love research that confirms my worldview.

Seems researchers from IBM and Brigham Young University studied people’s work hours and determined a “break point,” at which 25 percent of workers said their job interfered with their personal life. For employees who had to spend all their work hours in an office, at particular times, this point was 38 hours.

Laura Vanderkam writes:�

If you give employees some flexibility about their schedules, though, and give them the option to work some of the time from home, the break point doesn’t hit until 57 hours. That’s 19 more hours per week — 50 percent more than the office-only workers, and the equivalent of 2.5 full days.

Now that is a lot of time. And the crazy thing is, you probably won’t have to pay people more either for these additional 2.5 days that are on the table. That’s because we are so conditioned to think of flex schedules/telecommuting as “perks.” We consider these favors bestowed by management, always carrying with them a tinge of worry that you won’t really be productive.

I think this study can put that idea to rest. Not only are telecommuters less likely to want to leave their employers (a finding from a meta-analysis of 46 studies published in the November 2007 Journal of Applied Psychology), they won’t mind long hours as much. Sounds like a good business case to me.

Vanderkam’s been studying time-use for her new book (just released last last week), 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  Part sociology, part self-help, it’s a pretty fascinating read that just might actually inspire you, too.

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Written by Elizabeth

June 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

One Response

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  1. […] I love research that confirms my worldview. Seems researchers from IBM and Brigham Young University studied people's work hours and determined a "break point," at which 25 percent of workers said their job interfered with their personal life. For employees who had to spend all their work hours in an office, at particular times, this point was 38 hours. Laura Vanderkam writes:� If you give employees some flexibility about their schedules, though, … Read More […]


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