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Microsoft: Working from home not catching on
By Sumir Singh

We live in a world where many IT Sections work 24 by 7.  Many Indian BPOs run three shifts supporting clients in every corner of the world.  For about a decade, many tech majors have been allowing some employees to work from home. Microsoft research is showing that remote working has not achieved its full potential.

According to a recent survey from Microsoft, remote-working programs can benefit employees and employers alike through increased productivity, reduced overhead and happier workers.

Sixty percent of respondents to the Microsoft Telework survey — conducted among 3,600 employees in 36 cities nationwide — say they are actually more productive and efficient when working remotely. With less time spent commuting and fewer cubicle “drive bys” causing distractions, respondents say, more time can be spent on the task in front of them.

The catch? By and large, employers aren’t catching on. Only 41 percent of those surveyed work for companies with established remote-working policies, and just 15 percent believe their company supports flexible work arrangements. Despite a wealth of new technologies that can facilitate collaboration among workers no matter where they are, employers are still concerned about whether they’re getting the most from employees.

The Microsoft survey revealed five major trends:

1. Employers are perceived to be less supportive of remote-working programs, although there has been no significant change recently in the number of companies reported to have a formal policy.
 
2. Bosses are perceived to be less supportive of remote work than peers and colleagues.
 
3. Employees say avoiding the commute and being more productive are key benefits.
 
4. Even if they have the desire, a supportive environment and a belief that they can competently work from home, most employees do not take advantage of the opportunity.
 
5. Employees conduct business in unusual places when working remotely, including bathrooms, movie theaters and even at funerals.


(3/13/2010)
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