Tuesday, 5 March 2013

What is the future of teleworking?

Last week the BBC published an article about teleworking in relation to Yahoo's decision to ban it's employees from working from home. This prompted responses by work-life balance/work and family organisations as there is little evidence to suggest that the benefits of working in the office outweigh the benefits of teleworking. Even in organisations that support teleworking, negative attitudes still persist among some employers and employees (illustrated rather nicely by Boris Johnson's comment that "'We all know that is basically sitting wondering whether to go down to the fridge to hack off that bit of cheese before checking your emails again").

However, the findings of our recent research on the impact of the Governments's programme of cuts on the work-life balance agenda in public sector organisations suggest that, at least in many UK organisations in this sector, teleworking may in fact be increasing, in part, as a way of responding to the need to make cuts. The Human Resource Directors we interviewed viewed teleworking and other worklife balance initiatives as mutually beneficial for employers and employees and believed they promoted employee recruitment and retention, employee well-being, as well as efficient, cost-effective ways of working. Some initial findings from our research were presented at the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology conference in January (Anderson et al. Work-life balance policies, practices and discourse and public sector cuts).

The Division of Occupational Psychology Work-Life Balance Working Group Newsletter is a new publication reporting on projects that the Working Group undertake. The current edition is available from the BPS shop and work-life balance fact sheets for individuals, employers and coaches are available at this link.

Nicky Payne

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