21st Century workers do it at home

Working from home and keepring in touch with your colleagues over the web using webcams can help cuts stress and boost staff morale, a new report has found

A new report has shown that working from home, thus cutting out that stressful commute, can be a big plus both for workers and employers. Telecommuting cuts stress, boosts morale and increases job satisfaction, researchers from the Pennsylvania State University found.

"Our results show that telecommuting has an overall beneficial effect because the arrangement provides employees with more control over how they do their work," said Dr Ravi Gajendran of Pennsylvania State University.

Positive effects

"Telecommuting seems to have some mildly positive effects on employee morale, on work-family balance and on stress," he told Reuters.

The researchers found that working away from the office by using computers, mobile phones or other electronic equipment has more benefits for staff and their employers.

We've already seen how 2.5G and 3G phones are making the mobile Internet more accessible; how the Blackberry enables 24/7 email access; and how laptops like the new Asus Eee will make basic working on the move far easier than ever before.

Online tools such as Gmail, Google Docs, Skype, IM clients and video chat technology (such as Oovoo) provide a variety of ways to share documents and interact with fellow workers. Even Facebook can make the average telecommuter feel part of the crowd.

"Telecommuting by and large does not have any negative relational outcomes as has been commonly believed," said Gajendran.

Broadband increases

And as broadband speeds get faster (and subscriptions get cheaper), the number of teleworkers is set to grow, Gajendran said. The researchers studied data on 12,833 US telecommuters who spend time working away from the office.

"Over the last couple of years there has been a spike, especially in the number of people who are regularly telecommuting, at least once a month," he said. "There has almost been a 60 per cent increase in those numbers."