Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is Telecommuting Effective or Not?

Christopher Shea of the Wall Street Journal reports on a new research study by E. Glenn Dutcher in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.  Dutcher examines the work of telecommuters through an experimental study.  He finds that their productivity depends on the type of work that they are doing.  If the work is rote and repetitive, then people tend to be more productive in the office than at home.  However, if they are performing creative tasks, then they appear to be more effective at home.   The evidence suggests that an informal work environment may be more conducive to creativity. 

I would add a bit more to this interpretation.  I think the lower productivity for rote work conducted at home may be accounted for by the fact that one has many other options for how to use your time at home.  If you have boring work to do at the office, you may be constrained in your ability to procrastinate while doing other more enjoyable activities.  On the other hand, when you are at home, there may be many more desirable activities that you can pursue instead of the repetitive work associated with your job. 

1 comment:

Adil Baggio said...

Cool Article Dr.Michael- When I was working or an internship In Sempra Electric, I used to ride the Bus to work which took 1hr. The reason I did not use my car was I wanted to listen to the audio books I had purchased. If I had driven to work I would be listening to songs on the Radio & complain about the Traffic.