Workforce.com

Telecommuters Happier, Notes Poll, but a Good Chair Would Be Nice

July 22, 2011

The price of employee loyalty and productivity among telecommuters may be a comfy chair and a well-organized desk, according to a recent survey by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of office supply retailer Staples Inc.

Without a daily commute, which averaged about 75 miles round trip for the more than 140 employees surveyed, 76 percent said they are more willing to work extra hours and feel greater loyalty to their company. Additionally, 86 percent said they are more productive. Respondents also reported eating healthier and being less stressed since telecommuting.

The survey, which was conducted in May, polled employees from a variety of industries who work at least one day a week from home. The results were released on July 19 by the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company.

“We certainly see that telecommuting is on the rise with more people working from home,” says Ed Ludwigson, vice president and general manager for Staples Technology Solution, the technology products and services division of Staples. “What’s exciting is that they feel happier and are more loyal to their companies, and workplace flexibility is driving that satisfication.”

Employees could be even more productive with the right tools, he says. A comfortable office chair tops employees’ wish list for their home office, and nearly half of survey respondents say that clutter affects their productivity. More than 80 percent of the telecommuters say that their employers don’t provide furniture, equipment or any other support in setting up their home office.

“We see that employees are succeeding on their own, not necessarily because their companies are giving them the support,” Ludwigson says. “Most of our employer customers are receptive to this idea, but they are supportive mostly on an ad hoc basis. There are ways to make that remote workforce more productive with a minimal investment.”

—Rita Pyrillis