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[INFOGRAPHIC] Who is Happier? Remote Workers or Office Workers?

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The trend of telecommuting isn’t just a fad. Millions of employees start their workday from somewhere other than the office and never go to the office. Are they happy?

It should be no surprise that we’re interested in telework here at AccelaWork, considering we’ve covered just about every aspect imaginable on this topic. We featured a guest post explaining why you should always work as if you are remote. We’ve talked about telecommuting and employment law. I even wrote about how much I love not hearing from our remote workers, and one of our remote workers wrote about how much she appreciated it!

Working from Home

© Flickr user Jenn (Yana)

We’re also really interested in happiness at work. And we’ve covered the relationship between morale and productivity, how much your commute is affecting your job satisfaction, and even why you should be wary of forced fun. That’s why this infographic—provided by our friends at TimeDoctor—is a big deal to us. Take a look, and keep scrolling to hear our opinions:

Are Remote Workers or Office Workers Happier?

Let’s take a look at these findings bit by bit.

Remote Workers Say They Get More Done

The first big number on the graphic is the claim that “91% of remote workers assert that they get more done outside of the office.” Don’t read too much into this. After all, it’s a survey of 500 people who work remotely. You have to think that most of them would prefer their current arrangement, so they are going to say that they are more productive out of the office.

But at the same time, there’s tremendous power in not having to go into work. You save the time of the commute, the cost of professional clothes, and you avoid the interruption factory that is the modern office. For lots of people and lots of reasons, working remotely just makes sense.

Remote Workers Prefer Freedom and Options

The next section of the infographic says of those surveyed, 41% say the reason they work remotely is they “enjoy the freedom of choosing when and where to work” and another 28% claim “it accommodates their family needs.” This sounds an awful lot like these workers feel respected.

Of course, that highlights a bigger question. Who wouldn’t prefer to have more freedom and options?

Remote Workers Are Pretty Happy Regardless of Working Hours or Pay

The next section is a bit harder to interpret. It lists five different styles of working hours and shows that the range of happiness on a 1 to 10 scale ranges from 7.67 to 8.49. You can learn more about this in the original report (PDF) provided by a company called TINYpulse. They ask and argue:

Another factor that impacts workplace happiness is a remote worker’s schedule. Are they working the
same hours as their office counterparts, just from their couch? Or do they work nights or have to be on
call?

The happiest employees, it turns out, are those who typically work every day of the week.

The data is even tighter for pay ranges, where the numbers range between 7.62 and 8.36. For time zone shifts relative to other employees, the happiness figures range from only 7.69 to 8.33. Remote workers are pretty happy overall, and when they work, when others work whom they have to communicate with, and even how much they make is only a small factor.

Remote Workers Prefer to be Left Alone

According to the survey, about one in five remote workers want to talk to their direct supervisor multiple times per day. This is more consistent with what you do in an office environment. But two thirds would rather check in at most once a day and at least once a week.

Interestingly, the original survey also includes a question not about preferences, but reality. The numbers on actual contact with direct supervisors are almost exactly the same as what remote workers say they want. In that regard, things are likely going really well.

Remote Workers Feel More Valuable but Less Connected

The final bit of data shows that while telecommuters are generally happier and feel more valuable as employees, they feel less connected to colleagues. This is really no surprise. If you last as a remote worker, you must be producing results. There’s no “looking busy.” But at the same time, it’s harder to feel like you’re part of the team. If that’s important in your organization, you have to work even harder to keep telecommuters connected.

Thanks to TimeDoctor and TINYpulse for the graphic and the research!

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
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@robbyslaughter

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