Entries in Telecommuters (6)


More Americans Telecommuting; Best Buy Joins Yahoo in Ending Practice

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- More and more Americans are working from home, according to new census numbers -- even though two high-profile companies are banning the practice, saying they want their employees to actually show up at work.

Ditching the commute is a workplace perk that 13.4 million Americans enjoyed at least one day a week in 2010.  The census bureau says that's 9.4 percent of the workforce, up from 7 percent in 1997.  

Amine Khechfe, co-founder of Silicon Valley software company Endicia, says it helps productivity.

"They're saving maybe two to three hours of commute time," Khechfe says.  

But it's the subject of a new debate: struggling companies Yahoo and Best Buy are changing their rules, saying all employees now must physically come to work.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Top Four Tips for Working Productively at Home After Sandy

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While over 1.3 million people are still without power after superstorm Sandy, thousands are without a means of transportation or their offices are shut-down and are working from home.

Interrupted public transportation, flooded roads and a lack of gas have kept many workers unable to commute to their offices.  For those who can conduct business from home, they still run into connectivity and power problems.

Here are tips for those working at home:

1. Go to a free Wi-Fi hot spot area.

Those having connectivity issues may be able to log onto Comcast's Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots for free.  Last week, Comcast announced it was making the service available outside of its subscriber base in areas affected by Sandy.  On Monday, it announced it was extending that through the end of November.  The free service is available in Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Massachusetts.  You can visit for locations.

2. Create a Wi-Fi hot spot with your cellular coverage.

If you don't have electric power, your home Internet connection is likely out of commission.  But those who have a smart phone and access to battery power can activate a Wi-Fi hot-spot for up to 10 devices using your phone.  This service comes included in Verizon Wireless' "Share Everything Plans," which start at $90 for 3G or 4G devices.  Activating a hot spot allows you to create your own 4G LTE version wireless network.  If you have an older Verizon Wireless nationwide plan, you can purchase a mobile hot spot for $20 a month.  Customers only need to call customer service to activate that.

3. Switching services.

As utility companies are working to restore power, phone and cable companies are trying to restore cellular and Internet services.  Some residents in Long Island, N.Y., are finding more reliability in switching to Fios and fiber, from traditional copper lines for their cable and Internet services.

"Because of the way Fios is constructed, there is no electrical current that runs from consumer's home and our switching facility," said Bill Kula, spokesman for Verizon.  "So if and when our power goes out, there is a backup battery unit that supplies some emergency reserve time for the customer."

That doesn't mean fiber lines will always function when copper lines fail.  Fios still requires commercial power.

4. To remain productive, some at-home workers should make sure they are staying healthy.

Town Sports International is offering free visits to its 160 gyms until Nov. 14 to those 18 and older with a photo ID.  The company's franchise includes Boston Sports Club, New York Sports Club, Washington Sports Club and Philadelphia Sports Club.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Telecommuters Missing Out on Raises and Promotions?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(DAVIS, Calif.) -- Telecommuting is an attractive option for many workers. They don't have to face a rush hour, commute or play office politics. Or do they? A new study finds there may be a hidden down side to being invisible at the office.

A new study, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, finds people who don't put in face time with the boss, get smaller raises and poorer work reviews.  Researchers at U.C. Davis found "out of sight is out of mind," since bosses were more likely to rate employees they saw as dependable and those who put in overtime as ambitious.

But they also found, at-home workers can create a productive image by returning office emails immediately, and being extra visible when they do come into the office.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Telecommuters More Productive, Says UK Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Is a bed-to-desk commute a secret fantasy of yours?  Think you might actually be more productive working in various states of undress from the privacy of your very own home?

If so, you’re in luck: A recent “flexible working” pilot study conducted by O2, a British telecommunications company, found that employees are, in fact, more industrious when working remotely. What’s more, the environment gets a much-needed break, and -- yes! -- the company saves money. A win-win situation all around.

On Feb. 8, O2 allowed 3,000 of its employees from its Slough-based head office to work from home, shutting doors and flicking off the lights in its 200,000-square-foot office.  This was all planned well in advance: O2 spent weeks gearing up for the Big Day weeks, upgrading its network infrastructure and giving employees ample time to adjust their psyches to not having to hightail it to work.

The company then recorded the results:  Eighty-eight percent of the home-based workers said they were as productive as they normally were in the office, while 36 percent said they were even more so. There were other reported perks: 15 percent caught up on sleep and 14 percent bonded with their families. They saved 2,000 hours of traveling time, which translates into $14,000 in commuting costs.

The environment also benefited.  O2′s electricity consumption decreased by 12 percent, and water usage plunged 53 percent.  About 12.2 tons  of CO2 was saved -- roughly equivalent to the CO2 emissions from a 42,000-mile drive in a medium-sized diesel car.

The company was thrilled -- and presumably, so was the British government, which has already begun encouraging businesses to let their employees work from home during the seven-week-long Olympic Games this summer.

The experiment “proves that with the right thinking and planning, even the largest organizations can protect themselves from the most severe disruptions to their business,” says Ben Dowd, O2′s business director. “It shows that businesses really can make significant and lasting reductions to their environmental impact, in a multitude of areas.”

And, he added, it demonstrates that the “principles underlying flexible working really are the principles that will build the future of work, and determine the way that people, technology and buildings interact in the decades and centuries ahead.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly One-in-Five Telecommuters Spend One Hour or Less on Work

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Working from home is great work if you can get it, especially in light of a new survey that reveals 17 percent of Americans who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day on work.

The national survey found 40 percent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day, while 35 percent work eight or more hours.

The online jobs site also found:

-- 37 percent of telecommuters say they are more productive at the office, while 29 percent state they are more productive at home.  Thirty-four percent say they are equally productive at home and the office.

-- Telecommuters rank household chores as the biggest distraction, followed by TV, pets, running errands, the Internet and children.

-- 41 percent of female telecommuters work in their pajamas, compared to 22 percent of males.

The national survey was conducted between May 19 and June 8, 2011, and involved nearly 5,300 employees.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Telecommuters Happy to Work from Home

Photodisc/Thinkstock(AMSTERDAM) -- Some employees are plenty happy to bring their work home with them. Telecommuters surveyed by Staples Advantage say their stress levels dropped an average of 25 percent since they began working from home.

Other stats from the survey of more than 140 telecommuters who work at least one day per week at home:

-- 86 percent say they are more productive when working at home.
-- 76 percent are more willing to work longer than usual since they began working from home.
-- 73 percent say they eat healthier when working from home.
-- Fifty-four percent have embraced telecommuting so much that they say they'd give up their favorite TV show rather than work solely in an office. Forty-eight percent said they'd skip an extra hour of sleep, and 40 percent said they'd take a pay cut.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio