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If given the option of working from home — albeit with a 25% pay cut — would the average employee choose that option?
According to a new survey released by Arise Virtual Solutions, the answer is “yes.” Sixty percent of Americans surveyed said they would accept up to 25% less pay if they could work from home. Of the 700 workers surveyed, 80% said they would take less income if they could work at least part time from home.
“I have a greater ability to focus on work while I am in my home office,” says Stacey King Moody, a Yukon resident. “There are fewer distractions, such as chatting with colleagues or helping outside of my official duties. Those distractions are usually fun and entertaining, so for me, being able to shut down my chatting is much easier than trying to ignore knocks on my office door while on the work site.”
The survey highlights the trend of change in traditional relationships for employers and employees. But while many employees say they feel they could be more productive working from home, many traditional employers worry about accountability.
Moody, a 15-year veteran of web and middleware components technology and security in both corporate and small-business environments, says she has worked full time from her home office for many years, and would hesitate to return to a traditional work environment.
“My first experience working from home was during my time at IBM. I worked on the web team as a middleware infrastructure specialist. There were times when work needed to be done on the production-level servers that required off-hours support, so we were given home access to log into the network and handle those fixes,” she says. “So much of our work came in at all hours, and I and several other folks on my team spent a majority of time working from home.”
right, Stacey King Moody says working from home helps her maintain a better work-life balance.
Since moving from Vermont, her remote-home status went to full time.
“There was no more going into the office,” Moody says. “I was able to maintain a better work-life balance this way, and again, for me it was far more productive.”
Other companies also are shifting to remote and telecommuting.
In Oklahoma City, companies such as Convergys and Hartford have work-from-home employees, and nationally, Arise announced it is currently looking to add 11,000 at-home call-center representatives to its roster to keep up with the high demand.
“In my field, long hours are often required. Overtime isn’t occasional — it’s par for the course,” Moody says. “When you add travel to and from the office, that can eat up even more hours. So for me, because for most of my career I had 10- to 12-hour days, if you add a long commute on top of that, it doesn’t leave much room for family.”
While having employees in the office still remains the majority rule, many other companies are seeing the value of workfrom-home options. Whitney English Kolb, CEO and founder of English Paper Company and Joy & Wit in Oklahoma City, says of her 11 employees, three work from home on a regular basis.
“If our graphics people have a heavy workload or the bookkeeper does, they work from home, which is easy to do in cloud-based computing,” says Kolb, whose English Paper Company recently opened in New York and Los Angeles, as well. “There are also instances when we do product sourcing overseas that requires off-hours work from home. I’d say the pros are that our designers can work uninterrupted from home, but the cons are that it’s hard to build a team atmosphere, and they don’t understand the culture of the business.”
Although English Paper Company and Joy & Wit (a branding and project management business geared toward women business owners) have used remote workers in the past, Kolb says she’d rather have her employees in the office.
“There’s the question of accountability. I think it works better with older workers than the younger ones,” she says. “But for us, it’s not a real cost savings. We give our employees a desk, computer and phones when we hire them, so we encourage our employees to use the office as their base.”
Even Moody agrees the solution doesn’t work for every company.
I am a huge advocate of remote working or telecommuting, it isn’t a
solution for everyone or for every job. You must be a very disciplined
person, and you still have to be able to focus past distractions,” she
says. “For some, those distractions can be harder to resist while at
home with no one having eyes on you watching your work progress.
Discipline is key here, probably more so than in the office. You must
find a way to make your presence felt even when you are not physically
Photo by Shannon Cornman