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I ran across an interesting article online at the Minneapolis Star Tribune that provided the results of a survey of 46 studies looking at 12,883 employees done by the Journal of Applied Psychology. It found some not-so-surprising tidbits:
- Telecommuting improved job satisfaction, performance, turnover and stress.
And some more less-expected tidbits:
- Telecommuting did not harm career prospects
- Telecommuting more than half-time did harm relationships with coworkers, but not with supervisors.
In a tale from the oxymoronic department, the article goes on to relate that AT&T recently rolled back telecommuting privileges after having bragged of improved productivity and savings of $30 million a year in real estate costs. Their defense was that it was due to “reconciling human resources policies at the company in the wake of acquisitions.” Hmmmm.
The last point from the article was the first instance I have run across of the impact of telecommuting on relative pay. It goes on to say that:
“Minnesota workers in general rank ninth in median earnings relative to workers in other states, but Minnesotans who work at home rank 22nd in median earnings, according to the Census Bureau.”
Though Minnesota’s local economy is not directly relevant to me, seeing some numbers that demonstrate a penalty for working from home is something that I took note of.
As a manger, I personally have seen the pay of telecommuters impacted negatively but it was not due to the fact that this particular individual telecommuted. It was because it was known that they were extremely averse to traveling for business to customer sites – something their peers were willing to do.
If you are a telecommuter, be prepared to be impacted in the frequency and size of future raises (and promotions) if you convey a message of inflexibility, e.g. that you are anchored to your home and are are less amenable to office visits and customer travel.